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Translated and adapted to Indian and Colonial practice from the 



Professor of Crimmology in tJie University of Prdg. 


JOHN ADAM, M.A., Barrister-at-Law, 

Croivn and Public Prosecutor, Madras, 

J. COLLYER ADAM, Barrister-at-Law, 

Advocate, High Court, Madras. 


A. Kkishnamachari, Egmore, Madras. 




Printed by G. Ramasawmy Chetty & Co., 
3, Maliaperumal Street. 


This volume is designed to be a working hand-book for all engaged or 
interested in Criminal Investigation. It has, by special permission, been 
translated and adapted from the well-known work of Dr. Hans Gross, 
Professor of Criminology in the University of Prag and special lecturer 
on that subject in the University of Vienna. Translations have already 
•appeared in various languages, including French, Spanish, Danish, Kussian, 
Hungarian, Servian, and Japanese. Few men are so well fitted, by train- 
ing and experience, as Dr. Gross to compile a work like the present. He 
has, to use his own words in his introduction to the first German edition, 
been for many years "body and soul'' an Investigating Officer. As 
M. Gardeil, Professor of Criminal Law at Nancy, says, in introducing 
the French Translation to French Criminalists, Dr. Gross is **an indefati- 
gable observer ; a far-seeing psychologist ; a magistrate full of ardour to 
unearth the truth, whether in favour of the accused or against him; a 
clever craftsman; in turn, draughtsman, photographer, modeller, arm- 
ourer; having acquired by long experience a profound knowledge of the 
practices of criminals, robbers, tramps, gipsies, cheats, he opens to us the 
researches and experiences of many years. His work is no dry or purely 
technical treatise; it is a living book, because it has been lived." 

The aim of the adaptors has been, while omitting nothing of general 
or particular utility to any person investigating crime, no matter in what 
capacity or part of the world, to combine and include therewith a mass of 
information of peculiar interest in India. At the same time they have 
attempted to apply many of the illustrative criminal cases and principles 
contained in the original work to the Indian point of view. Many sections 
of Dr. Gross's work have been greatly enlarged and elaborated, and no 
pains have been spared to bring the whole quite up to date. 

The book, following the author's arrangement, has been divided into 
four parts.* Part I. is designed, in the first place, to enunciate those 
general principles and qualities, the lack or neglect of which proclaim an 
investigator unfitted for the sphere in life in which it is his misfortune to 
be placed ; and, in the second place, to inform him in a general way 
what assistance science can afford in the investigation of crime, and 


in a more detailed manner to show in just what cases expert knowledge 
may be effectively brought to bear. Advice is also given regarding the 
examination of witnesses and accused and the inspection of localities. 
Parts II. and III. deal respectively with various heads of knowledge and 
certain handicrafts with which every Investigating Officer should be 
thoroughly well acquainted ; while Part IV. gives information upon the 
methods of criminals in committing particular offences, much of which 
may be new even to experienced detectives. 

This Indian and Colonial edition, while omitting some portions of the 
original which would be of no use to the practical worker, for example, 
the slang words of Bohemian gipsies, thus contains much new and 
interesting matter, the better to adapt the book for India and the Colonies, 
and also to bring the last German edition of 1904 thoroughly up to date. 
These new passages, derived from the writings of specialists, the latest 
criminal intelligence, and the somewhat extensive experience of the adap- 
tors as criminal lawyers, are interwoven with the text. 

For the specialist, desiring to pursue his studies further in any specific 
department. Appendixes I. and II. are particularly intended. Appendix I. 
contains the information which, in the German original and in many 
works of this description, is relegated to foot-notes. Experience teaches 
that in a volume designed as a popular handbook as well as a scientific 
guide, such foot-notes are embarrassing, breaking the general thread of 
the discourse and distracting the attention of the reader. Accordingly 
each authority, as and when mentioned in the text, is distinguished by a 
consecutive index figure, under which figure in Appendix I. the complete 
reference will be found. A few exceptions to this rule occur in the cases 
of important writers, whose names and the titles of whose works are 
given in full in the text. Appendix II. is an alphabetical list of the 
authorities included in Appendix I. or specially quoted in the text, with 
references to the various pages of the book on which each is mentioned. 
These two Appendixes combined will thus, it is hoped, be found by the 
student to constitute a complete working apparatus. The Index is a 
comprehensive Index to the whole work, with cross references, of which 
we shall only permit ourselves to say that we have endeavoured to make 
it as useful as every index should be. 

The German and French editions of this work were each published 
in two volumes. For a book of reference, presenting no definite line of 
demarcation, the two-volume format is neither convenient nor popular. 
Any one accustomed to employ as working tools such books as Taylor 


''On Evideiice", or Taylor's ''Medical Jurisprudence'', will cordially 
agree. At the same time, a great and bulky book is a terrible nuisance. 
We believe that, with the help of the modern paper-maker, who has 
provided a thin yet opaque paper, of strong texture and adapted for block- 
printing, we have been enabled to offer our readers a book, great but not 
bulky, which will prove no nuisance but a pleasure, physically, to handle 
and to read. 

A word may be said to anticipate the possible criticism that the 
translation is too free. We have made no attempt to produce a strictly 
literal interpretation. In translating a classic, where the style and 
language may be as important as, perhaps more important than, the 
matter, verbal accuracy may be desiderated ; but, where the matter is all 
in all, we believe its import can be best conveyed through a medium 
natural to the reader. This is perhaps more especially the case where the 
original is in German, and from the pen of a German scientist, though 
we must admit that few German pens are less open to the reproach of 
German dryness than the lively and often humorous weapon wielded by 
Dr. Gross. Hence, while neither deprecating scientific accuracy of treat- 
ment nor shirking the lifum labor et 7)iora, we have endeavoured to present 
our results in a language readily understanded of the multitude. 

As to the illustrations, those appearing in the German work are re- 
produced from the original blocks, but a very considerable number are 
special to this edition. Plates II. — VI. are from original impressions 
and drawings supplied by the Government of Madras; Plates VII. — XI. 
are from photographs furnished by Mr. Joseph Farndale, Chief Constable 
of Bradford, as acknowledged in the text; Figures 40, 41, 42 are copied 
from Egerton Castle's *' Catalogue of Weapons in the Indian Museum, 
London"; Figures 45, 61 — 77, 129 and 150 are drawn, by permission of 
the Inspector-General of Police, Madras, from examples preserved in the 
Museum attached to his Office. The botanical drawings. Figures 116 — 
121 and 126: — 128, have been prepared from specimens procured with the 
assistance of Lt. Col. J. L. Van Geyzel, I. M. S., Chemical Examiner to 
the Government of Madras. The plants portrayed in Figures 122 — 125, 
not being readily obtainable in Madras, recourse was had to the illus- 
trations in Lyon's Medical Jurisprudence, so frequently referred to in the 
text. The blocks, both half-tone and line, for all the illustrations here 
specifically mentioned and also for Figure 82, have been executed by 
the Methodist Episcopal Press, Madras. The blocks for Figures 43, 
44, 46—50, 52, 53, 55, were lent by Messrs. Oakes d Co., Ltd., the 


well-known gunsmiths of Madras. To all collaborators here mentioned 
our cordial thanks are due. 

Many works of experts have been referred to and from some of these 
excerpts have been made, we trust to no unreasonable extent. We 
believe that no quotation or extract has been taken from any author 
without acknowledgment i7i loco, and we have endeavoured so to frame 
our selections that they may prove signposts, guiding the reader from 
our pages to the fountainhead. 

Despite the most assiduous care on the part of both editors and 
printers' readers, we fear many press errors have crept in ; for these, 
and all other deficiencies, we can only plead the difficulties attending the 
production of a First Edition of a work of this nature, and hope that, 
with the aid of our friendly critics, they may be amended, should a Second 
Edition be called for. In this connection we have specially to thank 
Lt. Col. J. L. Van Geyzel, already mentioned, for kindly reading the 
proof sheets of Chapter XVI, sections viii and ix; and Chapter XVIII, 
section ii, sub-section 2, and making many valuable suggestions. Our 
thanks are also due to Mr. K. S. Gopalratnam Iyer, B.A., B.L., who has 
carefully read the final proof-sheets of a great portion of the book. 

In conclusion, we trust no one will imagine that the author and 
editors claim for this work either completeness or finality. The extent 
of the subject forbids the former, the nature of it vetoes the latter. In 
remedying its deficiencies and imperfections, we hope to receive the 
assistance of all who take a living interest in the subject. -Such support 
has enabled Dr. Gross to enlarge his work to its present dimensions, and 
to furnish it with a comrade in the shape of his '' Archiv fur Kriminal- 
Anthropologie und Kriminalistik ", now in its twenty-fourth volume. 
Any information or suggestion, no matter on how small a point, will be 
thankfully received by us and utilised for rendering any future issue 
more serviceable and thoroughly up-to-date. 







Table of Contents ... 


List of Illustrations 




Introduction ... • ... 



The Investigating Officer. 

i. — General considerations 

ii. — Tlie duties of the Investigating Officer 
iii. — Procedure of the Investigating Officer ... 

iv. — Preconceived theories 

v.- — Certain quahties essential to an Investigating Officer 
vi. — Knowledge of men 
vii. — " Orientation " — Finding his bearings 
viii. — Jurymen 
ix. — The "Expeditious" Investigating Officer 

X. — Accuracy and precision in details 

Examination of Witnesses and Accused. 

i. — General considerations 
ii. — Examination of witnesses 

A. When the witness desires to speak the truth 

1. Fundamental considerations ... 

(a) Perception 

(b) Memory 

2. Special considerations 
(a) Strong feeling as a cause of inaccuracy of observation. 
(6) Inaccurate observations following wounds on the head 

(c) Differences in the observing powers, resulting from 

differences in the natural qualities and intellectual 
culture of the observer... 

B. When the witness does not wish to speak the truth 

C. Pathological lying 

iii. — Examination of the accused 










Inspection of Localities. 

i. — Preparation 

ii. — What to do at the scene of offence ... 
iii. — The actual description of the scene of offence, 
iv. — Search for hidden objects 





Equipment of the Investigating Officer . . . 

The Expert and how to make use of him. 

i. — General considerations 
ii. — The Medical Jurisprudent .. . ... 

A. In cases relating specially to Medical Jurisprudence 

B. Preservation of parts of a corpse... 
Mental affections 
The teeth 

The Microscopist 

A. For traces of blood 

For excrement 

For hair 

For other cases relating to medicine 

For falsification of writing 

For examination of clothes, etc. ... 

For examination of stains 

1. On weapons and tools 

2. Dust 

3. On clothes, etc. 

4. Mud on footwear ... 
-The Chemical Analyst 
The Expert in Physics 

-Experts in Mineralogy, Zoology, and Botany ... 
-The Expert in Fire-arms ... 
-Photography ... ... 

A. Importance of photography from a judicial point of view 

B. Particular cases of the employment of pliotography. . . 

C. Recognition of criminals from their photographs 
-Anthropometry — Bertillon System ... 

A. Advantages over anthropometry ... 

B. Practical application of fingerprints 

C. The manner of recording fingerprints 
xii. — Geometrical Identification 













Legitimate Sphere of the Public Press ... 










Practices of Criminals. 

Disguising the face 
False names 

Pretended illnesses and pains 

A. Illness of witnesses or suspects summoned before the Court 
Sudden illness of accused or witness when under examination 



Shamming blindness 

Do. deafness 

Do. epilepsy 

Do. paralysis 
Sham Fainting fits 
Pretended insanity 
Shamming catalepsy 
iv. — Signs and signals 

A. Graphic signs 

B. Hand signals 

C. Signals of recognition 
Acoustical signs 

1. Calls and cries of warning 

2. Phonetic communication in prison 
Marks of stigmata on the face 

The Slang of Criminals. 




, 302 

, 312 

, 313 

, 316 

. 317 

. 318 

. 321 

. 321 

. 322 

. 324 

. 324 

. 325 

. 335 

. 341 

. 344 

. 344 

. 345 

. 348 



Wandering Tribes. 

i. — General considerations ... ... ... ... ... 353 

ii. — Their methods of stealing ... ... ... ... ... 360 

iii. — Child-stealing ... ... ... ...- ... 366 

iv. — Their good points and their superstitions ... ... ... 367 

V. — Instruments used for theft, poisoning, etc. ... ... ... 369 

vi. — Attitude before the authorities ... ... ... ... 372 

vii. — Their corporal characteristics ... ... ... ... 375 

viii. — Gipsy proverbs ... ... ... ... ... 377 


Superstition. ... ... ... 379 

i. — Superstition attaching to dead bodies and to objects abandoned at 

the place of crime • • • ... ... ... 383 

ii. — Superstition attaching to objects carried on the person... ... 386 

iii. — Divination and fortune telling by cards, etc. ... ... ... 390 

iv. — Treasure-finding, dreams, and chiromancy ... ... ... 398 

v. — Superstitions regarding oaths ... ... ... ... 405 




Construction aind use of Weapons. 


i. — Fire-arms 

A. General considerations 

B. Different kinds of fire-arms 

1. Guns (including Rifles) 

(a) Shot guns 
a. The Barrel 

1. The material of gun barrels 

2. Number of barrels 
/^. Explosive action 

1. Muzzle-loaders 

2. Breech-loaders 

(b) Bullet Guns 
a. Muzzle-loaders 
/?. Breech -loading rifles 

2. Pistols 

3. Revolvers 
0. Ammunition 

1. Pov^der 

2. The Projectile 
D. Objects hit by a projectile 

ii. — Cutting and stabbing weapons 

A. General considerations 

B. Cutting and stabbing weapons properly so called 

1. Sword-arms 

2. Arms in the form of a knife 

3. Arms in the shape of a lance or spear 

4. Indian weapons 






























Drawings and Allied Arts. 

i. — General considerations 
ii. — Drawing 

A. Plan of the interior of a house . . . 

B. Sketch of a dwelling 

C. Sketch of the environs of the house 

D. Sketch of a larger portion of country 
iii. — Drawing on squared paper 

iv. — Modelling 

V. — Moulding and stereotyping 
vi. — Reproduction of drawings, etc. 

vii. — Piecing together torn ])aper 

viii. — Preserving and deciphering burnt paper 



Footprints and other Impressions. 


, 483 


A. General notions 

B. How to observe footprints 

1. Preparatory 

2. Observation in an actual case 

C. Origin of the footprints 

1. Speed 
(a) Walking 
(6) Running 

2. The ''Trace" itself ... 
{a) The walking image 

a. The line of direction 
The line of march 
The line of the foot 
The length of the step 
c. Other kinds of walking 
{b) The image of the foot 

D. Measurements to be taken 

E. Reproduction of footprints 

1. General 

2. Various methods 

3. Methods recommended 
ii. — Other impressions 



Traces of Blood. 

i. — Search for traces of blood ... ... ... ... ... 553 

ii. — How to register and describe traces of blood ... ... ... 564 

iii. — How to detach traces of blood ... ... ... ... 568 

iv. — Search for traces of blood which there has been an attempt to 

remove ... ... ... ... ... 575 

V. — Finger-prints in blood ... ... ... ... ... 580 

vi. — Preservation of blood marks ... ... /i. ... 586 




Ciphers and other Secret Writings. 

i. — General considerations 
ii. — Various kinds of cipher 

A. Numerical ciphers 

B. Alphabetical ciphers 

C. Syllable and word cipher; 

D. The Stencil or Black-line cipher 

E. Miscellaneous cipliers 

iii. — Suggestions as to deciphering secret writing 





Investigating Officer's satchell ' 
Section of arrow head 






Position of hair 





Method of preserving hair V Plate I. to face 



Drawing to accompany same 



Method of finding root of hair 



Human hair ^ 
Specimen of writing 

... '• 





Finger-prints ... ... ... face . . . 

Specimen Hand ... ... ... ,, 





do. ... ... ... „ ... „ 



Corresponding portions of 1st and 2nd fingers 



enlarged ... ... ... ... ,, ... ,, 

Skeleton Chart of Plate V. ... ... „ ... 



Impression on lid of box and of prisoner's finger ,, ... ,, 

„ VIII. 

Finger-print on beer bottle ... ... ,, ... ,, 



Impression on bottle and of prisoner's finger ,, ... „ 




Impression on glass and of prisoner's finger ,, ... ,, 
Chart of geometrical identification ... ... 289 



Tramp's Graphic Signs... ... ... ... 326 


11 to 14. do. 

... 327 


15 to 18. do. 

... 328 


19 to 23. do. 

... 329 


24 to 27. do. 

... 330 


28 and 29. do. 

... 331 

30 to 32. Gipsy Signs 
33 and 34. Hand signals 

... 332 
... 343 



35. Owl's song 

36. Gipsy's hook 

37 and 38. Fortune-telling diagrams 
39. Lines of the hand 




Old matchlock 




Old revolving matchlock 

... ... ... 




Figure 42. Old flintlock ... 

43. Walking-stick gun 

44. Detachable gun 

45. Moplali powder horn ... 

46. Modern breech-loader (open) 

47. Breech-loader cartridge 

48. do. (section) 

49. Winchester Rifle cartridge 

50. Colt Revolver do. 

51. Section of rifled barrel ... 

52. Barrel reflector 

53. Povi^der grains (various sizes) 

54. Colt Revolver 

55. do. open, to show action 

56. American style of aiming 

57. Star by bullet on glass ... 

58. do. horse-shoe on glass 

59. Diagram; firing through window 

60. Sections of daggers 
Figures 61 to 71. Weapons (in Madras Criminal Museum) 

,, 72 to 77. Implements used as weapons (in Madras Criminal 


78. Plan of room ... 

79. Cross projection 

80. Plan of house... 

81. Plan showing tapering wall 

82. Plan of two Madras houses 

83. Conventional sketch of curtilage ... 

84. Conventional sketch-plan of country 

85. Drawing on squared paper 

86. Contour lines ... 

87. Scheme of legs running 

88. do. sole of foot ... 

89. do. do. 

90. Height of centre of gravity 

91. Scheme of legs 

92. Instantaneous photographs of man running : 

Plate XXI to face... 














:e 93. 











































































Man running (instantaneous photograph) 

Scheme of Hnes of march and of foot 

Scheme of feet walking 


Print of great toe 

Skeleton footprint 

do. ... 

Bowl and plaster 

Mode of preserving footprint 

Impression of cart wheel 

Blood under table 

Blood splashes 

Sketch showing positions of blood marks in room 

to 108. Details of Fig. 105 

Blood on corner of waist-coat 

do. boards 

Mode of protecting blood on hatchet 

do. do. beam 

Specimen of picture writing 

Section of bayonet 

Position of knife when cutting ... 

Datura plant bearing capsules ... ^ 

Sections of Datura and Capsicum seeds Plate XIII. 

Aconite (root)... ... ... to face 

Henbane (Hyoscyamus) seed and section/ 

Lai Chitra (Pluinhaqo Zet/lanica) ] 

^ '^ Plate XIV. ^0 /ace 





-Plate XV. to face 664 

Oleander (Nerium Oclorum) ...) 
Yellow oleander (Cerhera Thevetia) 

do. nuts, 

Cerhera Odallam, 
Cuscuta reflexa, 
Madar {Calatropis Gigantea) root 

do. do. stem, leaf, & flower^ Plate XVI. 

Marking nuts {Sinecarpus Anacardium) ) 
Madras thieves' ladle ... ... ... ... 679 

Gipsy mode of fastening door ... ... ... 718 

Comparative width of head and body ... ... 720 

Modes of forcing barred windows ... ,^ 720 


... V'ZU 






> > 










? J 




J 5 














) > 












Modes of forcing barred windows 
How to apply a screw-jack 
Door hinges (in position) 
Modes of cutting through wooden doors 
do. do. 

do. do. 

do. do. 

Mode of cutting through a ceiHng 
Padlock neatly removed 
Collection of skeleton keys 

do. swell-cracksman's tools 

do. crowbars... 

Braces and bits for safe-cutting ... 
Collection of safe-cutting tools ... 
Safe, cut open and rifled 
Modes of abstracting purse from pocket 
Implements used by coiners 
Method of arranging chain or strap to catch 
Caste Marks ... 
Explosive Machine 
Another, showing mechanism 






77 line 14 from bottom after Psychology insert references iOS—n). 

78 ,, 1 ,, top ,, Ribot ,, reference (60). 
100 ,,11 ,, ,, fo)- indispensible read indispensable. 
133 ,, 16 ,, ,, ,, indentified ,, identified. 
166 after heading Mental Affections insert reference (250). 

184 line 1^ from top after Mendel ,, re/erences (329— 332). 

185 ,, 13 ,, bottom \, exists ,, ,, (333-340). 

192 ,, 4 ,, ,, for accessary read accessory. 

193 after heading Excrement insert references i^92— 396). 
222 line 7 from top for igneous read ligneous. 

,, Chapter VI. ,, Chapter XVI. 
bottom after chemically treated add with hydro- 
fluoric acid. 
top , , columns insert references (336, 537). 
,, for mention read mentions. 

,, it ,, if. 

,, ,, forgo tton ,, forgotten. 

348 m sub-heading far 3. Marks of Stigmata read E. Marks of 


394 line 1 from bottom for (427) read (727). 

395 ,, 6 ,, ,, ,, he ,, her. 

405 after heading Superstitions regarding oaths insert references 

436 line 8 from botto^n for sulpuric read sulphuric. 


5 J 



J » 



1 > 



J ) 



) > 



, 5 


586 , 

, 11 , 

, ,, ,, window frame 

» J 

window pane 

611 , 

, 10 , 

, top ,, aoni 

aoui . 

648 , 

, 13 , 

, ,, ,, Englishman 



670 , 

, 12 , 

, ,, ,, occurences 

5 ) 


746 , 

, 9 , 

, ,, ,, thurst 

> > 


774 , 

, 11 , 

, bottom ,, where-ever 

J J 


847 , 

, 3 , 

, ,, ,, Sudra 

5 7 



dix I Nc 

). 26 for Goerres 



451 , , Megnin 



583 ,, Do. 

> ) 


635 , , Weissenbruch 

, 5 


814 ,, Mendel, Ch. 

5 ) 

Beiss, R.A. 


The aim of this book is to be as practical as possible. It is not a law 
book, though we confidently hope that it will be of the greatest interest 
to lawyers. It is not a work on medical jurisprudence, though we trust 
that medical men will find it useful and suggestive. It is a Manual of 
Instruction for all engaged in investigating crime, its aim being, not only 
to deal in detail with subjects coming directly within the province of a 
criminal investigator, but also to inform that official in what cases and in 
what manner specialists may or must be resorted to. At what stage of 
the inquiry the role of the expert begins, depends almost entirely upon 
the person conducting the inquiry. If the latter is unaware, for example, 
that a chemist can bring out with the help of his science an almost 
invisible impression of a finger upon a drinking glass, there is small 
chance of the drinking glass either being examined or ever reaching the 
chemist's hands. An investigator with a fair equipment of knowledge 
will be aware, almost instinctively, just when to invoke the assistance of 
experts in many cases wherein another would not dream of doing so. 
^ We of course foresee and meet on the threshold the charge of encroach- 
ing upon the province, and thereby attempting to dispense with the help, 
of specialists. Nothing could be more harmful than such advice, nothing 
could so expose the investigator to mistakes as such fancied independence. 
But there is a vast gulf between permitting an Investigating Officer to 
undertake work beyond his sphere and instructing him how to recognise 
when he ought to resort to experts, lohat experts should be chosen, and 
ivhat questions must he submitted to them ; just as an attorney requires 
long training and much knowledge of law to be able to state his case 
effectively for the opinion of the advocate. GuUihet in sua arte perito 
credendum est. 

As a rule, these three considerations alone will present themselves. 
But there are also cases, nor are they extremely rare, where the Investi- 
gating Officer must himself play the role of expert. 




1. In all cases where no real experts exist and where a little 
reflection alone is required ; e.g., in cases of falsification of documents, 
as to inaccuracies, anachronisms, inconsistencies, in the text as a whole, 
unless the case has to do with documents of such age as to necessitate the 
aid of experts in history or genealogy. Other instances are the observa- 
tion of footprints, the deciphering of writing, questions concerning super- 
stition, etc. 

2. In the numerous cases where, no expert being at hand, it is 
necessary for the Investigating Officer to act without delay, for ex- 
ample, make an arrest, conduct a search, or revisit the scene of a crime. 
The Investigating Officer is often placed in such a situation. Out in the 
country, it happens as often as not that no qualified medical man is to be 
found in the place ; or it may be that the nature of the case itself precludes 
the Investigating Officer from at once consulting a medical man, though 
medical knowledge would be of great assistance to him. There are again 
cases in which the Investigating Officer is obliged to journey far into his 
district. He cannot take a medical man with him from head-quarters in 
all such cases, in fact his first information may not show the slightest 
necessity for one. Suppose for example a District or Assistant Superin- 
tendent of Police is summoned to what is reported to be a very important 
case of arson, necessitating his personal investigation. He goes off 30, 40, 
or even 50 miles, away into the wilds of his district and discovers that the 
arson has apparently been committed to conceal a murder or an attempt- 
ed murder. He has to decide whether an incinerated corpse is that of a 
murdered man or of one accidentally burnt in the fire. He has no medical 
expert with him — he has no means of getting one within a reasonable 
time — he is under the necessity of at once coming to some conclusion on 
the matter — he must rely entirely upon his own special knowledge ; his 
method of procedure at this moment will have the very greatest influence 
upon the result of the inquiry. 

3. Finally and not the least important, especially as regards India, 
experts of the first rank are seldom to be found. The Chemical Exami- 
ners to Government, the Lecturers on Medical Jurisprudence at Head- 
quarters, the Government Experts in Finger-prints, know well just what 
they have to say and do and how to say and do it ; but the same cannot 
be affirmed of the ordinary country hospital assistant or apothecary, who 
is perhaps only at the outset of his career and indeed can seldom be 
called an expert at all. In some parts of India the danger is all the 
greater, when, as in the Presidency of Madras, hospital assistants are 


called upon to make post-mortems, to draw up reports, and give evidence 
in important murder trials. The ordinary official of this grade does so 
without the slightest hesitation, makes statements and draws conclusions 
with the utmost rashness, declining to admit his inability to reply to a 
question a far more experienced man would shrink from answering, and 
entirely forgetting that the life of a fellow human being may be dependent 
on his words. This is no random assertion ; the records of our Criminal 
Courts amply bear it out, and high medical authority could be quoted 
for the opinion that no non-gazetted medical officer, i. e., no one below 
the rank of Assistant- Surgeon, should be permitted to conduct a post- 
mortem examination in a suspicious case and make a report thereon. 
Frequently medical men, even men of long experience, have never learnt 
the art of drawing up a satisfactory report in a criminal matter. They 
may know their trade thoroughly and be able to give most useful informa- 
tion, but are incapable in a criminal matter of applying their knowledge 
and answering questions put to them with any precision. Without the 
sHghtest intention of frustrating the ends of justice, they fall victims to 
the wiles of the expert cross-examiner, losing both their heads and their 
tempers. Finally a workman, a shikari, or a cultivator cannot be ex- 
pected to find just the correct expression or to put into words exactly 
what he desires to say, especially from the point of view of the Investi- 
gating Officer. It must never be forgotten that the best of experts is far 
from being a criminalist. The Investigating Officer must therefore know 
something more than what is set out in the Codes, if he wants to obtain 
answers to the point. And if he is entirely ignorant on all matters 
connected with outside knowledge, he cannot gain that assistance from 
specialists which they would otherwise be able to afford. 

The reason of the remarkable success of the original of this book in 
Europe is due to the circumstance, forcibly stated by M. Gardeil, already 
quoted, that " it responds to a real demand ; it fills a gap, which not only 
existed in the juristic literature of Germany, but exists to-day in France 
and most other countries." The realization of the same lacuna led the 
Congress of the International Union of Criminal Law, held at Linz, 
August 1895, to pass the following Resolution : — '' In order that criminal 
investigators may be better trained and educated for the work before 
them, it is desirable that the texts of the criminal codes should not be the 
sole subjects of instruction ; it is to be hoped that — by special courses of 
instruction or otherwise — wider and deeper notions may be imparted to 
them on the general causes of crime, the striking peculiarities of the 


criminal world, and the best methods to adopt in criminal mqmries and 
the infliction of penalties". 

We most cordially endorse the view here formulated. An Investi- 
gating Officer requires in the execution of his duties very much more 
knowledge than can be given him by the Codes, supplemented by anno- 
tations and case law. No doubt the Investigating Ofhcer can find much 
of the requisite information in a mass of books, yet some is to be found 
nowhere; as to the books themselves, they are not always to his hand, 
and when he has them at his disposition, he speedily realizes that a man 
without some knowledge of a subject cannot intelligently use a scientific 
manual. It is impossible for him to find the notions he is in need of, 
united in one systematic whole ; and he has often neither time nor oppor- 
tunity to question anyone in a position to give him information. He is 
thus generally compelled to fall back on his own resources, or on some 
guide easy to consult and capable of giving him the starting point neces- 
sary in the majority of cases that arise. In fact he wants a book of 
"First Aid". The present volume is intended to be such an auxiliary ; 
in any event we trust that the beginner v/ill find in it a practical guide, 
at least for the outset, on his journey, and possibly even through the inevi- 
table slough of despond. 

We should not here overlook the valuable work now being done in 
practical training by the Police Schools, recently established in many 
parts of India. We trust both teachers and pupils in such Institutions 
will find something useful in our pages. 

When the scheme of the book first took shape, the idea was to have 
the different parts treated by specialists : medical jurisprudence by a 
physician and surgeon, the science of arms by an armourer, the chapter 
on photography by a photographer, etc. We must allow that if treated 
in this way the various chapters would have been set out in a more 
scientific manner ; but it soon appeared that w^e should miss our true 
aim ; there are in fact enough works on such subjects, but unhappily they 
have not been written for the Investigating Officer or with the aim he 
pursues kept steadily in view, the result being that he cannot find what 
he has immediate need of. The specialist cannot place himself in the 
position and stead of the jurist, who, without being a specialist beyond 
his own profession, ought nevertheless to possess special information; the 
expert can teach him many things, but not those just necessary. This 
plan was therefore abandoned and the work has been written throughout 
by the author and the adaptors, profitting, it is thankfully acknowledged 


by the abundant labours of others, supplemented at every turn by per- 
sonal research and experience. 

For various reasons some subjects of interest to an Investigating 
Officer have not been treated of exhaustively : a full discussion would 
encroach too extensively upon subjects outside his province, would be 
beyond the compass of a handbook, or perhaps prove profitable to the 
criminal classes and so harmful to the public. 

We may here enter a perhaps unnecessary caveat against any sup- 
position that Investigating Officers are expected immediately to sit 
down and " cram " this book from beginning to end or at once to attain 
the ideal of an Investigating Officer promulgated in Chapter I. That 
is in truth an "ideal", a "counsel of perfection" — but if there were 
no mountain tops who could exclaim Excelsior ? ■ 

The object of the book then is to show how crime is to be handled, 
investigated, and accounted for, to explain the motives at work and the 
objects to be attained. The legal aspect of arson, for example, and the 
punishment appropriate thereto, the principles of the criminal law, the 
laws of evidence, and the rules of procedure to be followed in the trial of 
a case are barely within our limits ; but how the arson was accomplished, 
what means and assistance the incendiary had at his disposal, how its 
origin may be accounted for, the character of the criminal and — here comes 
in criminal psychology — the weight to be attached to the testimony of 
the witnesses, the consideration of errors in observation and deduction, to 
which judge, jury, and all who have to deal with crime, are exposed, — 
these things are part and parcel of our subject. 

Abstract legal knowledge is practically worthless where the Judge, 
Magistrate, or Policeman cannot make it fit in with facts, when he does 
not understand the witnesses, or appreciates them erroneously, when he 
assesses wrongly the worth of sense perceptions, when he is led astray 
by every bit of roguery, when he does not know how to make use of 
traces left behind by the criminal, and especially when he does not know 
the numberless facts systematised in Crimmal Phenomenology. 

It must be admitted that at the present day the value of the deposi- 
tion of even a truthful witness is much over-rated. The numberless 
errors in perceptions derived from the senses, the faults of memory, the 
far-reaching differences in human beings as regards age, sex, nature, 
culture, mood of the moment, health, passionate excitement, environ- 
ment, all these things have so great an effect that we scarcely ever receive 
two quite similar accounts of one thing ; and between what people 


really experience and what they confidently assert, we find only error 
heaped upon error. Out of the mouths of two witnesses we may arrive at 
the real truth, we may form for ourselves an idea of the qircumstances of 
an occurrence and satisfy ourselves concerning it, but the evidence will 
seldom be true and material ; and whoever goes more closely into the 
matter will not silence his conscience, even after listening to ten wit- 
nesses. Evil design and artful deception, mistakes and errors, most of 
all the closing of the eyes and the belief that what is stated in evidence 
has really been seen, are characteristics of so very many witnesses, that 
absolutely unbiassed testimony can hardly be imagined. If Criminal 
Psychology teaches us this much, so the other parts of the subject show 
us the value of facts, where they can be obtained, how they can be held 
fast and appraised — these things are just as important as to show what 
can be done with the facts when obtained. The trace of a crime dis- 
covered and turned to good account, a correct sketch be it ever so simple, 
a miscroscopic slide, a deciphered correspondence, a photograph of a 
person or object, a tatooing, a restored piece of burnt paper, a careful 
survey, a thousand more material things are all examples of incorruptible, 
disinterested, and enduring testimony from which mistaken, inaccurate, 
and biassed perceptions, as well as evil intention, perjury, and unlawful 
co-operation, are excluded. As the science of Criminal Investigation 
proceeds, oral testimony falls behind and the importance of realistic proof 
advances; "circumstances cannot lie", witnesses can and do. The upshot 
is that when the case comes for trial we may call as many witnesses as 
we like, but the realistic or, as lawyers call them, circumstantial proofs 
must be collected, compared, and arranged beforehand, so that the chief 
importance will attach not so much to the trial itself as to the Pj'elimiiiary 

The truth of this is but too often apparent in India, and can well be 
exemplified by the procedure of High Court Judges hearing Criminal 
Appeals. Their first act on taking up the papers is to examine, with the 
greatest care and so far as the often very incomplete record will permit, 
the progress of the inquiry ; and if serious flaws are found therein, as not 
infrequently is the case, they attach little or no weight to the depositions 
of the witnesses at the trial. 

We venture to hope that this book will be of use to many besides 
Investigating Officers properly so called. Throughout the work the 
expression " Investigating Officer " is used as a compendious term to 
include all persons engaged in the investigation, official or non-official, of 


criminal cases. In India an inquiry is conducted sometimes by Magis- 
trates (under Chapter XIV of the Criminal Procedure Code), sometimes 
by the Police (under the same Chapter and the various Police Acts), 
sometimes by interested parties, assisted, more or less, by their legal 
advisers. To all these classes, as well as to judges of all ranks and 
medical officers of all grades, this work is intended to appeal. 

We may remind our readers that the subject with which this book 
deals in part. Criminal Phetiomenology, is but one branch of the wider 
science of Criminology. The study of this subject has not been taken up 
by English-speaking nations with any sincerity of purpose or vigour of 
attack. One or two explorers, indeed, have grappled with the subject, 
but the text books used are for the most part those of other nations — 
Italy, France, Germany. Even in the United States, lawyers have chiefly 
directed their attention to what is known as Criminal Politics. This 
subject — it can hardly be called a branch of Criminology, standing as it 
does on a footing of its own — comprises two sub-branches ; firstly the 
science of the criminal law, which indeed all nations have been forced 
to consider, and secondly penology, the science that treats of the punish- 
ment and prevention of crime and of the management of prisons and 
reformatories. America has attempted, and with considerable success, to 
define the principles upon which the infliction of punishment should be 
based, and the exposition by her lawyers of the principles of the criminal 
law has been accepted and admired both in England and in India. The 
Italian School has dived deep down into the psychological branch of 
criminology and has propounded many original ideas, but according to 
the general opinion of European criminologists it has to some extent 
lost sight of the practical in its desire to carry its pet theories to a 
never attainable conclusion. French criminologists on the other hand 
have studied the subject from a more utilitarian point of view, paying 
particular attention to what is termed Phenomenology. 

It is, however, to the German speaking races we must turn to find 
Criminology thoroughly attacked in all its branches. This science has 
been by them recognised as a subject for really serious study, and very 
few German Universities do not possess a chair of Criminology, with 
courses of lectures and classes thereon. The appended table gives the 
scheme drawn up by a recognised authority, and shows the place occupied 
by Phenomeiiology in the syllabus. 



Criminal Anthropology. Criminal Sociology. Crifninal Phenomenology. 




















/ \ 



Procedure Investigation 

of of 

Criminals. Crimes. 

-' vj^- 

Criminal Politics. 

Criminal Law. 


Note. — As these pages are passing through the press we are in receipt 
of a work just published, PsycJiology applied to Legal Evidence, by 
G. F. Arnold, I. C. S. We regret we can do no more here than welcome 
it as an original and interesting contribution to the science of Cri7ninal 


''What is truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an 

anstver Yet truth, which only doth judge itself, teacheth that 

the inquiry of truth, which is the lovemaking or wooing of it, the 
hiowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, aiid the belief of truth,- 
which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature'' 





Section i. — General Considerations. 

Of all the duties that an official can be called upon to perform in the 
course of his service those of an Investigating Officer are certainly not 
the least important. That his services to the public are great and his 
labours full of interest will be generally admitted, but rarely, even among 
specialists, is full credit given to the difficulties of the position. An 
Investigating Officer must possess the vigour of youth, energy ever on the 
alert, robust health, and extensive acquaintance v^ith all branches of the 
law. He ought to know men, proceed skilfully, and possess liveliness 
and vigilance. Tact is indispensable, true courage is required in many 
situations, and he must be always ready on emergency to risk his health 
and life; as when dangerous criminals are to be dealt with, fatiguing 
journeys to be undertaken, persons stricken with infectious diseases to 
be examined, or dangerous post-mortems attended. He has moreover to 
solve problems relating to every conceivable branch of human knowledge ; 
he ought to be acquainted with languages, he should know what the 
medical man can tell him and what he should ask the medical man; he 
must be as conversant with the dodges of the poacher as with the wiles 
of the stock jobber, as well acquainted with the method of fabricating a 
will as with the cause of a railway accident; he must know the tricks 
of card-sharpers, why boilers explode, how a horse-coper can turn an old 
screw into a young hunter. He should be able to pick his way through 
account books, to understand slang, to read ciphers, and be familiar with 
the processes and tools of all classes of workmen. 

But it is not on the day of his appointment alone that an Investi- 
gating Officer can learn all this or acquire the activity and perspicacity 
necessary to his work. It ought therefore to be a fundamental rule not 


to nominate as Investigating Officer any but those who, besides their 
mental and bodily fitness, possess a veritable encyclopaedic culture, who 
know the world, have observed life, and have acquired manifold experi- 
ences; finally, who are ready to place at the service of society with all 
the energy of which they are capable the knowledge thus painfully 
acquired. Every criminal expert knows that the Investigating Officer in 
the exercise of his functions may be compelled to draw on all, absolutely 
all, the varied knowledge he has amassed, and that he will feel at least 
once in his life a profound regret for his ignorance of what he has 
neglected to acquire. 

If an Investigating Officer is wanting in such general information, 
the cause is lack of interest in the work; and in this case he will never 
make a good Investigating Officer. He will do well to seek without delay 
to utilize his legal knowledge, which may perhaps be of great value, in 
other branches of judicial work. As an Investigating Officer he will not 
only fail to play his role well but his life will be miserable; he will be 
definitely forced to busy himself with affairs that do not interest him and, 
being deficient in the necessary information, he will never secure good 
results. He will be obliged to confess, sooner or later, that he is not 
occupying a situation suitable to him; and nothing is more discouraging 
to a man than work under such conditions. He who would spare himself 
such disappointment ought to make sure of possessing the qualities 
indispensable to an Investigating Officer before entering on this thorny 
and difficult career. 

But knowledge alone is not everything. The Investigating Officer 
must possess not only legal and other acquirements, a general training, 
special fitness, and ideas ever ready for development, but also such a 
complete devotion to his profession that even outside the exercise of his 
official functions he will be always seeking to learn something calculated 
to extend his knowledge. He who seeks to learn only when some notable 
crime turns up, will have great difficulty in learning anything at all. 
His knowledge should be acquired beforehand by constant application in 
his ordinary life. Every day, nay every moment, he must be picking up 
something in touch with his work. Thus the zealous Investigating 
Officer will note on his walks the footprints found on the dust of the 
highway ; he will observe the tracks of animals, of the wheels of carriages, 
the marks of pressure on the grass where someone has sat or lain down, 
or perhaps deposited a burden. He will examine little pieces of paper 
that have been thrown away, marks or injuries on trees, displaced stones, 

t>UTIES 3 

broken glass or pottery, doors and windows open or shut in an unusual 
manner. Every thing will afford an opportunity for drawing conclusions 
and explaining what must have previously taken place. For what we call 
" adducing proof " consists only in concluding from the knowledge of one 
fact the knowledge of other facts which must have followed or preceded 
it. And these lessons must be learned in advance in connection with 
matters of small importance and not waited for until some murder has to 
be investigated. Quite insignificant words uttered by passers by, strik- 
ing the ear by chance, or little suspicious acts accidentally observed, may 
afford precious opportunities for putting two and two together. It is 
equally useful to get others to relate events, insignificant or important, 
at which they as well as oneself have been present. These recitals, sup- 
posing that those who make them really wish to speak the truth, are 
extremely interesting on account of their variations ; and this is the 
simplest and indeed only way of learning how the depositions of witnesses 
should be appreciated. 

Nor ought the budding Investigating Officer to neglect any oppor- 
tunity of obtaining information concerning any profession, the work of 
an artisan, technical processes, etc., etc., nor, last not least, of learning to 
know men. For this every man with whom we come in contact may 
be taken as an object of study, and whoever takes the trouble can always 
learn something from the biggest fool. 

Section ii.— The Duties of the Investigating Officer. 

If we now ask " How should the Investigating Officer set about his 
work?" we can come to but one conclusion ''His whole heart must 
be set upon success." If not, he reduces his work to the mere dispatching 
of documents and firing off reports as fast as he can. If he would 
succeed in each inquiry his work will be by no means easy, smooth, or 
peaceful ; on the contrary, he will have to devote himself completely and 
continually to his task, working with all his might and never pausing for 

Nervous people are useless as investigators. Success in a mission 
means the complete elucidation of the business in hand. No matter 
what may be his profession, a man must, if he be conscientious, bring 
his task to a successful termination. But here is not a task in which 
one can advance little by little, along a natural and clearly demarcated 
route, terminating when one has completed a certain amount of work 
mapped out in advance ; there is always a new problem to unravel ; 



the investigator whose work is half done has accompHshed nothing. 
Either he has solved the question and quite finished the work ; that 
means success : or he has done nothing, absolutely nothing. 

"Obtaining a result" must not be confused with ''producing an 
effect." The work of the investigator ought to make neither noise nor 
sensation : suffice it that the culprit must be discovered at any price. 
To succeed in his mission the Investigating Officer must just commence 
his work at the start with the resolution of devoting to it every effort 
humanly possible and the determination not to pause till it is finished. 
The end has not been attained simply by the elucidation of the affair in 
an ordinary way. It is very easy and convenient to say, " It is impossible 
to go further." But if one says continually, ''Another step in advance 
must be taken," one finishes by advancing several leagues. In every case 
that he has to solve the Investigating Officer has first to obtain facts, 
often not without worry and trouble. As adversaries he has the accused, 
and often the witnesses, circumstances, natural events, difficulti(is that 
crop up as time goes on ; and if he loses sight of the proverb, "If you 
don't allow yourself to be beaten to-day, you are saved a hundred times 
over," then on the first difficulty arising he will throw up the sponge. 
He will take a difficulty for an impossibility and say " Thus far and no 

Section iii. — The Procedure of the Investigating Officer. 

When the Investigating Officer starts work, the most important 
point for him is to discover the exact moment when he can form a 
definite opinion. The importance of this cannot be too much insisted 
upon, for upon it often depends, and in difficult cases almost always, 
success or failure. If he should come liob soon to a definite conclusion 
relating to the affair, a preconceived opinion will be formed, to which he 
will always be attached with more or less tenacity till he is forced to 
abandon it entirely : but his most precious moments will by then have 
passed away, the best clues will have been lost, often beyond the possibi- 
lity of recovery. If on the other hand he misses the true moment for 
forming an opinion, the inquiry becomes a purposeless groping in the 
dark and a search devoid of aim. When wall the Investigating Officer 
find this true moment, this psychological instant, of which we speak'? 
it is impossible to lay down a general rule or to foresee in a given case : 
all that can be said is, that the Investigating Officer w411 of necessity 
always find it if he set to work under the guidance of fixed and 


immutable principles, never losing sight of the fact that a '' definite 
opinion" on an affair as a whole will not come to him all of a sudden; 
to arrive at it he must advance step by step while making use of such 
"definite opinions" as may be prudently formed about phenomena, facts, 
and isolated events as they arise. 

The case must be taken up from the start with an open mind. 
The complaint or information received by the Investigating Officer ought 
to have no other value in his eyes than this statement, "It is said that 
such and such a crime has been committed at such and such a place." 
Even if details about the perpetrator, the injury, the motive, etc., are 
published, he should attach no more importance to them than if he had 
heard the remark, "it is said that the affair must have happened thus". 
Supposing that an important crime is involved and the Investigating 
Officer repairs to the scene, certainly a great number of strong and lively 
impressions will bring themselves to bear upon him and the task of 
gathering them together will be hard enough. In addition, he will receive 
communications from all quarters ; officials, authorised and unauthorised, 
desire to make statements more or less important ; he does not wish to 
pack them off, for they may tell him something which he will be able 
to turn to account in forming at once, if he is so disposed, a definite 
opinion. His w^ork at this important stage of the inquiry must enter 
into great detail ; just as if he gathered up with a sponge one by one all 
the drops of water he sees, in order, when it is quite .soaked, to squeeze 
into a basin all the drops that have been collected. No matter for 
the moment whether the drops are clear liquid or dirty slush, he gathers 
them all in. Little by little as the work advances, certain opinions and 
ideas become separated and fixed : such or such a witness makes a good 
impression and one begins to believe what he states ; one gets an idea of 
the way in which the author of the crime reached the spot ; one takes 
account of the instruments he has employed ; or finds certain indica- 
tions which confine within ever narrower limits the period of time in 
which the deed must have been committed. 

When a certain number of ideas on the incidents of the case, con- 
sidered individually, seem at length determined, the Investigating Officer 
will seek to obtain a precise idea of the way in which everything has 
happened, even if only the most general view be possible. Perhaps the 
conclusion will be forced on one that the real facts are not what they 
appear on the surface and that a false complexion has been given to 
them ; or on the other hand one may be enabled to say with certainty 


that a crime of such or such a nature has been committed. In short 
the Investigating Officer will be far enough advanced to set up an out- 
line or frame work on which a provisional theory or scheme may be 
developed. To set out this scheme beforehand will be superfluous and 
dangerous ; superfluous because it may have to be changed at any 
moment, dangerous because with a prematurely formed plan one can 
easily get off the track and follow a wrong direction. We do not imply 
that the Investigating Officer must not at the beginning estabHsh a 
classification to be followed in his operations, for without that he would 
only grope about, finding nothing and advancing no whit her : but between 
a provisional classification to guide inquiry and a definite scheme of the 
crime there is a great difference. 

But if it is difficult to construct the plan of campaign, it is still 
more difficult to conduct the inquiry according to that plan. One cannot 
compare the scheme of inquiry with a scheme devised in view of circum- 
stances which can be brought into existence and modified at will. It is 
drawn up in view of circumstances which alter of themselves, which are 
often unknown, and which do not depend on the person applying the 
scheme. It resembles, not the design of a house to be built, but a plan 
of campaign. It is based upon data which the Investigating Officer 
possesses, or believes himself to possess, when he constructs it. It must 
be rigidly adhered to as long as these data are unchanged or have under- 
gone only their natural development, but it must be modified in part or 
in whole as soon as these data are found to have changed or to be false. 
One would imagine that this could be done quite naturally and spont- 
aneously, but such is human nature that so simple a principle is rarely 
conformed to. 

The greater difficulty there is in securing anything, the more one 
holds on to it ; that is why fools are so obstinate. They never willingly 
abandon an idea, because they have had trouble in getting it into their 
heads. Now the scheme of an inquiry is difficult to follow out, and, 
when one has already worked in conformity therewith, it is not willingly 
abandoned ; but still pursued unthinkingly and almost automatically. It 
happens at times that one perceives all of a sudden in one's work that 
one is following with exact minuteness a plan based upon data the falsity 
of which has become apparent long ago, or which are so modified that 
the work constructed, if not built altogether in the air, is quite crooked. 
This advice may seem pedantic : yet, however unimportant an inquiry 
may be at each step (examination of witnesses, visits to localities, tech- 


nical or expert reports, and even combinations spontaneously imagined), 
the information upon which one's scheme has been based, must be 
verified anew, to ascertain if the data remain unchanged and, if not, in 
what way the scheme must be modified. 

It will therefore be not only the easiest but usually also the best and 
safest way to construct the hypothesis in the simplest possible man- 
ner ^*\ Strange and extraordinary suppositions should be disregarded. 
And never forget that one great stupid fault which a criminal nearly 
always commits, especially in big crimes. It has happened hundreds of 
times that criminal investigators, already on the right track, have left it 
thinking : " The man who has committed this crime cannot have been so 
foolish as to do that," but innumerable cases prove that he has been so 
foolish ; it matters not whether he was confused, suddenly frightened, 
has made a miscalculation, acted hastily, or what not. It is therefore 
always best for the Investigating Officer to take the simplest view at the 

Pfister in his ''Curious Criviinal Cases'' rightly says: — "The 
greatest art of the Investigating Officer consists in conducting the inquiry 
in such a way that the initiated at once perceive that there has been " a 
directing intelligence," while the uninitiated imagine that every thing has 
fallen into place of its own accord." But in order to perceive this 
" directing intelligence," the whole must rest upon a scheme continually 
verified and thoroughly carried out. How often do we not come across 
inquiries where the Investigating Officer has started on an excellent plan, 
but has adhered to it with desperate tenacity even when the data upon 
which it was based have long since changed. Thus to continue to follow 
a line the falsity of which has been demonstrated, may sometimes prove 
more fatal and more dangerous than to grope about with no plan at all : 
in the latter case it is still possible to hit the right clue, in the former it 
is absolutely impossible. The case where an inquiry runs the greatest 
risk of failure is when the scheme supposes a certain person to have been 
the author of the crime ; and after having worked entirely with this idea, 
it suddenly becomes evident that that person is innocent. 

When an almost incalculable amount of time has been lost on 
such a false scent, it may be concluded as a general rule that the in- 
quiry will prove abortive. The Investigating Officer has expressed his 
ideas on the manner in which things have come about, he has utilised 
the elements of proof in view of a predetermined result, and, what is 
graver still, he has allowed time to slip away. And now his original 


supposition has been found to be false; he has first to combat his owri 
discouragement and that of his assistant : if a new scheme is drawn up 
he cannot muster the same degree of interest, and the elements of proof 
seem neither so certain nor so useful. Many have disappeared and can 
no longer be found, and with each production of new proofs he will 
make the objection, or others will make it for him, that in the original 
scheme they would have borne another meaning and pointed to another 
conclusion. There is only one way to obviate such a danger, never to 
allow himself to be dominated exclusively by one idea and never to follow 
exclusively that sole idea. 

In the preceding pages the title 'Investigating Officer' has, as 
explained in the preface, been used in a comprehensive sense, but it will 
be well to point out that there may be two or more Investigators. In 
India in particular, the Criminal Procedure Code, in addition to taking 
care that the Magistrate possessing jurisdiction should be kept constantly 
in touch with the labour of the police, provides both for an "Investiga- 
tion " by a police officer and an ''Inquiry" by a Magistrate [Section 4, 
(^•) and {D~\. These may be going on simultaneously, and if there be 
friction or jealousy between the two authorities, only the most sanguine 
would hope for success. But let us assume — and we trust the assump- 
tion is permissible — that both are working together with a single eye to 
promote the ends of justice. That he may develop or modify his plans 
in the way described, the Magistrate, to economise his forces, must have, 
understand, and know how to make use of, his associates and subordi- 
nates. It is common enough to hear the remarks, " The Magistrate is 
not a policeman"; "That is police work"; "The Magistrate has 
something else to do." Those who adopt this tone can hardly quote in 
its favour success scored by them. The Magistrate of course ought not 
personally to interfere in matters which do not concern him ; but he 
should keep the reins in his hands and guide the whole team ; whatever 
the police do ought to fit in with the scheme of the Magistrate. The 
actual work may at times have to be done by the police alone, but the 
police should work strictly under the directions of the Magistrate ^^\ 

The police are sometimes found in a false position in being placed 
either too high or too low. Too low, when the Magistrate deems it 
useless to march abreast of the police, does not desire to work with them, 
and draws, between their work and his, too deep and inflexible a line of 
demarcation. Too high, when the Magistrate accords the police com- 
plete independence, lets them have all their own way, and afterwards 


accepts as absolutely definite and certain what has been done solely on 
their own responsibility. The police will be found in their proper place 
only when the Magistrate co-ordinates the efforts of both, works sym- 
pathetically with them in the recognised interests of justice, keeps them 
well acquainted with all he has done and all he intends to do ; when 
in short he has but one ambition, to bring the work to a successful 
conclusion. But if on the one side the Magistrate thus marches hand 
in hand without jealousy, he must on the other firmly demand that 
the control of the inquiry be placed immediately and completely in his 
hands ; that nothing be done without his knowledge, and that every thing 
he has ordered be carried out in the way prescribed. Every police officer 

who has his duty at heart, should willingly accept this situation. The 

, , , ft 

ends of justice will be furthered, and the Magistrate will have at his 

disposal men devoted to him, and, because they have confidence in him, 

working well and expeditiously. But the Magistrate must hiow his 

men, not only know their worth in a general way, but know what they 

are thinking about in each particular case. 

That these principles are by no means chimerical as regards India 
was the view of the Police Commission of 1903. The following sentences 
from its Keport (Sections 124 and 125) may be aptly quoted to enforce by 
authority what has been advanced above. After referring to the various 
Sections of the Code of Criminal Procedure in which the respective func- 
tions of the Magistracy and Police are enumerated, the Report proceeds : 

" This is the connection which the law intends to exist between the 
Magistrate empowered to take cognizance of police cases and the police. 
It involves the first information being sent to this Magistrate, his being 
able to watch the case from the first, to order investigation where the 
police are not investigating, or to proceed to take up the case himself, 
and his being kept in touch with the police investigation up to the very 
last. His connection with the case is intended to begin with the first 
information and to continue to the end : throughout he is intended to 
exercise an intelligent interest in it. These provisions are very generally 
lost sight of. The intention of the law is defeated when the first infor- 
mation is sent, not as required by Section 157 to the Magistrate having 
jurisdiction, but nominally to the District Magistrate, really to a Court 
Inspector or other official at headquarters, who files it until the case is 
sent up finally for trial. It is also defeated when the Magistrate assumes 
what he imagines to be a judicial attitude, and never looks at a paper or 
takes anv interest in the case until it comes before him in Court, and 


proceeds to dispose of it with regard only to what is put before liiin by 
the parties without any effort to do what more lie can to arrive at the 
truth. A valuable check on Police work and valuable powers in criminal 
administration are thus lost. 

'' The intention of the law is that the police and the magistracy 
should work together, the former investigating the case for the Magis- 
trate, and the latter conducting the magisterial inquiry or trial, weighing 
the evidence collected by the police, sifting further any points that have 
been missed or inadequately treated, hearing all that the accused has to 
say or adduce on his own behalf, and deciding the case in the interests of 
truth and justice. That the Magistrate should be unduly ready to accept 
the police view of a case without giving the accused a fair hearing and 
endeavouring to sift the case to the bottom is unjust and contrary to the 
intention of the law. It is equally unjust and contrary to the intention 
of the law for a Magistrate to assume a hostile attitude tow^ards the 
police, to deny them a fair hearing, or to be diverted from the endeavour 
to ascertain the truth by a prejudice against them." 

Suppose that in an important case sufficient light has been thrown 
on it to arouse suspicion against a particular person or to give an 
accurate idea of the nature of the offence (for instance, whether it be 
a theft or a pretended theft for the purpose of hiding a breach of 
trust). The Investigating Ofhcer in the course of the inquiry ought to 
come to a conclusion one way or the other and form his opinion. Admit 
that the proof is strong enough for suspecting X to be the perpetrator of 
the crime and for ordering his arrest. As we have said, the Investigat- 
ing Officer ought not to follow blindly and solely the idea that X can 
alone be the author of the crime ; but neither ought he, under risk of 
complicating the case, to set out at the same time in several other 
directions. It is at this moment he must possess his men, Jnwir them, 
and see that they serve hiin. The Magistrate will possess them if, as we 
have indicated, he is on good terms with the police and with his subor- 
dinates ; he will know them if he constantly keeps in contact with them 
not only now but beforehand ; and he will hioiv they wiU serve him if in 
choosing them he takes into consideration first their character and 
education and then the ideas they have on the case in hand ; for one 
ought to make some concession to a man's ideas and employ him on a 
suitable task. 

Now suppose that certain police officials have been the first strongly 
to suspect X. The best way to make use of their zeal and good-will w^ill 


be naturally to make them continue to follow the same track and search 
for other motives for suspecting X. If the suspicions against X are not 
overwhelming, the Magistrate will not forget that some police officials are 
of a different opinion and have even suspected another person. 

As these latter officers must have some grounds in support of their 
opinion, the Magistrate will ask for tliese reasons, and, if they do not 
appear to be altogether illfounded by reason of other grounds that con- 
tradict them, those very officials who have conceived the idea ought 
to be entrusted with the duty of following their own clue. If other 
ofticers take yet another view of the matter, these again will be charged 
with watching that idea, the fruit of their own reasoning ; that it will be 
the object of the most careful attention we may be quite certain. Wlien 
tlie Investigating Officer has taken care to employ upon every imaginable 
clue which promises to bring forth some discovery the men most fitted to 
each, he is then free to direct all his efforts to the point where in his 
own opinion the correct clue is to be found. He will from time to time 
collect the reports of those searching in other directions, will examine 
their information, and compare it with his own results. Should he not 
even then be convinced that the other clue is the light one, this method 
of proceeding will spare him many disagreeable surprises. It often enough 
happens that the real criminal is supposed to be found and is actually 
handed over to justice ; the police assume that all is over and fold their 
arms. But the Magistrate goes on with his inquiry and is finally obliged 
to release the supposed " real criminal," to the discomfiture of the police ; 
there is nothing more to be done ; the matter is ended till "further 
orders," and immediately sinks into obHvion. 

Another important matter relating to the police is, How to act when 
things have gone wrong? It is quite natural that the Investigating 
Olficer should not spare himself, but he must treat with equal severity 
all who work with him and are under his orders, to enforce their per- 
forming their duty to the end ; he must act with rigour every time he 
discovers a breach of duty. But if the faults committed turn out to be 
only mistakes, he should treat them with the greatest indulgence, letting 
his subordinates clearly understand that nowhere is it so necessary to 
acknowledge as soon as possible a mistake which has been committed, 
as in the service of public order and justice. Above all it must be 
well recognised, that as nowhere else is it easier to make a mistake, 
so nowhere should mistakes be more readily pardoned. It cannot be 
repeated too often that nowhere is a mistake more fatal and more 



dangerous than where the question is that of discovering a crime and 
its perpetrator ; but it must also be said that nowhere can a mistake 
be more completely repaired, provided it is discovered at once and 
frankly acknowledged. An individual cannot be expected never to 
make mistakes, but what must be rigorously demanded of every one 
occupied in criminal matters is, that he be honest and conscientious 
enough to immediately recognise and freely confess his error. 

If the question be asked, To what points the Investigating Ofticer 
should direct the attention of the police ? the answer will depend entirely 
and exclusively upon the case in question, for no general rule can be laid 
down on the subject. But we may say that the Investigating Officer 
ought to attempt to delineate to his subordinates the salient character- 
istics of the case. Only the man possessed of psychological training 
can carry out the task. The most experienced police officer may very 
well perform to perfection everything necessary to his own functions, 
but he can rarely specialize the characteristics of a given case. This 
is the work of the Investigating Officer. He will distinguish the present 
from similar cases in the past. He will look for its special character 
by reference to the actual crime, to the victim, and to the suspect, draw- 
ing indications therefrom as to the directions in which, at least for the 
moment, search need not be made. The police officer finds it just as 
easy to accept views pointed out to him and grasp the details of a crime 
when his attention has been drawn to them, as he finds it difficult to 
form the first picture of a given case. 

Finally it is part of the business of the Investigating Officer to indicate 
to the police (w^e are speaking now specially with regard to towns or 
large villages ^'^) the principal persons who can give information about 
important crimes, — drivers of public conveyances, coolie messengers, 
prostitutes, etc. ^*"^^ Though the importance of these persons is well 
recognised yet recourse to them is often neglected. Their importance is 
manifest for three reasons : firstly, they are not in regular employment 
and generally possess time and opportunity during a great part of the 
day to observe their neighbour's business. Their districts and resorts 
are habitually fixed and during their hours of idleness they can notice 
anything that takes place out of the ordinary or in any way singular. 
From these persons one will in most cases obtain information as to the 
customary conduct of such and such an individual, be he the victim or 
the criminal, what he used to do and used not to do, with whom he 
associated, what were his earnings, how much he spent, when he went 


out, and when he came in, and so on. They may also be able to tell of 
something unusual that happened at the time of the crime, either as 
regards money paid, meetings, goings and comings, or the demeanour of 
the parties. The second ground for the importance of these classes of 
persons relates not so much to themselves as to the criminal himself ; 
who will in a very great number of cases have had relations with them 
before and perhaps after the crime. Often after the commission of a 
crime, a suspect will be in funds and will try to get away quickly and 
without being seen from the neighbourhood of the crime. This is when 
he will engage a public conveyance. He will employ a messenger to send 
off letters, raise money, or make purchases for him. And finally he will 
need amusement and distraction and will have recourse to a prostitute. 
The third ground for the importance of this category of persons is that 
each class forms a body of which the members have very extended rela- 
tions with one another. A hackney carriage driver, in towns of ordinary 
size, knows nearly all the others of the same fraternity, a commissionaire 
knows the other commissionaires, a prostitute other prostitutes. In 
consequence of the relations existing between these persons, what one 
knows the others learn, and the police officer can therefore generally 
obtain from them the information he wants. But in this he will not suc- 
ceed if he only starts on the day following some great crime to make 
the necessary acquaintance with these classes. This he must have done 
long before, he must know these people and possess their confidence ; 
then alone can he obtain information on the points he wishes to know 
about. But it is the Investigating Officer that ought previously to draw 
the attention of the police to the importance of these points. He ought 
not indeed to manufacture satellites and spies, but simply take measures 
to bring a number of persons into co-operation with himself in the 
service of justice. 

There is an old adage that the Investigating Officer can often re- 
member to good purpose, namely, " Cherchez la femme ", *' Look for the 
woman at the bottom of it ". Sounding rather like a phrase in a novel, 
every practitioner of experience will certify that it contains a large portion 
of truth. A mistake however can be made in relying on it, in two ways; 
either by believing that the crime, no matter what, has been instigated 
by a woman ; or by declaring the explanation sufficient only because the 
name of some woman has been mentioned during the inquiry. In the 
first case one goes too far, in the second the goal has not yet been reached. 
The proper procedure is to endeavour, without any pedantic obstinacy, 



to look for a woman as having been an inlluencing factor in tlie crime. 
The suggestion of a crime does not always of necessity emanate from a 
woman, but one will frequently find that the most important deeds done 
before or after the crime itself have been done at the instigation of a 
woman or on account of a woman. This is assuredly not a minor point. 
We never feel sure of our case when we can assign no motive for some 
important action revealed by the inquiry, and we are not disposed to be- 
lieve that such an action has taken place so long as we do not know what 
the motive is. The Investigating Officer will therefore always do well to 
admit at the beginning that a woman may have something to do with 
tlje crime ; it is not necessarily so, but inquiry in that direction should be 
recommended. Take the simplest of facts ; a farm servant steals wheat 
in order to buy a pair of shoes for his young woman ; an honest wood- 
cutter has tui'ned poacher so as to be able to cut a dash in new buckskin 
breeches before his girl ; or let us go further and take a great political 
trial, in which we see how an offended beauty stirs up partisans to carry 
out projects tending to the overthrow of the state ; everywhere we find a 

Offences against property are committed for the purpose of getting 
married or spending the proceeds on prostitutes. At balls, dancing parties, 
and public assemblies of all kinds, brawls for the most part break out on 
account of women. The safest hiding place for stolen objects is with a 
woman of apparent innocence. It is almost always with the aid of a 
woman that criminals succeed in escaping and concealing themselves. In 
frauds and coining on a large scale, women are almost always the agents 
for putting the false goods into circulation. The worst gambling dens 
are invariably run by women, crimes of passion innumerable have been 
committed on account of women, and many men have turned criminal 
through associating with them. Every criminal expert almost without 
exception, having a certain amount of experience, is wont in criminal 
matters to go in search of the woman as a matter of course. Doubtless 
mistakes and errors may arise from that procedure, but for all that one 
must never forget the adage, "Find the woman at the bottom." 

Section iv. — Preconceived Theories/^^ 

The method of proceeding just described, that namely, in which 
parallel investigations are instituted, which to a certain extent mutually 
control each other, is the best, and one is tempted to say the only, wav 
of avoiding the great dangers of a "preconceived theory" — the most 


deadly enemy of all inquiries. ■ Preconceived theories are so much the 
more dangerous as it is precisely the most zealous Investigating Officer, 
the officer most interested in his work, who is the most exposed to them. 
The indifferent investigator who makes a routine of his work has as a 
rule no opinion at all and leaves the case to develop itself. When one 
delves into the case with enthusiasm one can easily find a point to rely 
on ; but one may interpret it badly or attach an exaggerated importance 
to it. An opinion is formed which cannot be got rid of. In carefully 
examining our own minds (we can scarcely observe phenomena of a purely 
psychical character in others), we shall have many opportunities of study- 
ing how preconceived theories take root ; we shall often be astonished to 
see how accidental statements of almost no significance and often purely 
hypothetical have been able to give birth to a theory of which we can no 
longer rid ourselves w^ithout difficulty, although we have for a long time 
recognised the rottenness of its foundation. 

Nothing can be known if nothing has happened ; and yet, while still 
awaiting the discovery of the criminal, while yet only on the way to the 
locality of the crime, one comes unconsciously to formulate a theory, 
doubtless not quite void of foundation but having only a superficial con- 
nection with the reality ; you have already heard a similar story, perhaps 
you have formerly seen an analogous case ; you have had an idea for a 
long time that things would turn out in such and such a way. This is 
enough : the details of the case are no longer studied with entire freedom 
of mind. Or a chance suggestion thrown out by another, a countenance 
which strikes one, a thousand other fortuitous incidents, above all losing 
sight of the association of ideas, end in a preconceived theory, which 
neither rests upon juridical reasoning nor is justified by actual facts. 

Nor is this all : often a definite Hne is taken up, as for instance by 
postulating, " If circumstances M. cV N. are verified then the affair must 
certainly- be understood in such and such a way." This reasoning may 
be all very well, but meanwhile, for some cause or other, the proof of 
M. & N. is long in coming ; still the same idea remains in the head and 
is fixed there so firmly that it sticks even after the verification of M. & N. 
has failed, and although the conditions laid down as necessary to its 
adoption as true have not been realised. 

It also often happens that a preconceived theory is formed, because 
the matter is examined from a false point of view. Optically objects may 
appear quite different from what they really are, according to the point 
of view from which they are looked at. Morally the same phenomenon 



happens, the matter is seen from a false point of view which the observer 
refuses at all costs to change ; and so he clings to his preconceived 
theory. In this situation the most insignificant ideas, if inexact, can 
prove very dangerous. Suppose a case of arson has been reported from a 
distant locality : immediately in spite of one's self the scene is imagined ; 
for example, one pictures the house, which one has never seen, as being 
on the left-hand side of the road. As the information is received at 
headquarters the idea formed about the scene becomes precise and fixed. 
In imagination the whole scene and its secondary details are presented, Ij 
but every thing is always placed on the left of the road ; this idea ends 
by taking such a hold on the mind that one is convinced that the house 
is on the left, and all questions are asked as if one had seen the house in 
that position. But suppose the house to be really on the right of the 
road and that by chance the error is never rectified ; suppose further that 
the situation of the house has some importance for the bringing out of 
the facts or in forming a theory of the crime, then this false idea may, 
in spite of its apparent insignificance, considerably confuse the investi- 

All this really proceeds from psychical imperfection to which every 
man is subject. Much more fatal are delusions resulting from efforts to 
draw from a case more than it can yield. Granted that no Investigat- 
ing Officer w^ould wish by the aid of the smallest fraud to attach to a 
case a character different to or more important than that which it really 
possesses, yet it is only in conformity with human nature to stop the 
more willingly at what is more interesting than at what belongs to every- 
day life. We like to discover romantic features where they do not exist 
and we even prefer the recital of monstrosities and horrors to that of 
common every-day facts. This is implanted in the nature of every one, 
and though in some to a greater, in some to a lesser extent, still there 
it is. A hundred proofs, exemplified by what we read most, by what 
we listen to most willingly, by what sort of news spreads the fastest, 
show that the majority of men have received at birth a tendency to 
exaggeration. In itself this is no great evil ; the penchant for exag- 
geration is often the penchant for beautifying our surroundings ; and if 
there were no exaggeration we should lack the notions of beauty and 
poetry. But in the profession of the criminal expert every thing bearing 
the least trace of exaggeration must be removed in the most energetic and 
conscientious manner ; otherwise, the Investigating Officer will become 
an expert unworthy of his service and even dangerous to humanity. We 


cannot but insist that he should not let himself slip into exaggerations 
that he should constantly with this object criticise his own work and that 
of others ; and that he should examine with extra care if he fail to find 
traces of exaggeration. These creep in in spite of us, and when they exist 
no one knows where they will stop. The only remedy is to watch oneself 
most carefully, always work with reflection, and prune out everything 
having the least suspicion of exaggeration. It is precisely because a 
certain hardihood and prompt initiative are demanded of Investigating 
Officers that one finds in the best of them a slight leaning towards the 
fictitious : one will perceive it in careful observation of oneself and get 
rid of it by submission to severe discipline. 

A psychologist^''^ of repute has stated that great artists, poets, and 
actors, are " mostly neuropathic individuals." We are sure that in saying 
this he does not intend to suggest that the occupations connected 
with art, poetry and the stage are conducive to madness, but that a 
certain neuropathic nature leads those who follow them to become what 
they have become, i.e., their nature is the cause and not the effect of their 
occupations. But not only those who are called poets, artists, and actors, 
have this neuropathic nature ; many other people in less poetic professions 
possess it. Though in an unpoetic profession, they may be so highly 
intellectual that they may be called (as Krafft-Ebing has called them) 
''neuropathic people." Their nerves it may be said are of such a nature 
that they are poetically inclined. Those gifted in this way are the 
greatest amongst us, but at the same time they have the heaviest respon- 
sibility in using such gifts. 

A special variation of the preconceived opinion consists in holding to 
the characterization first given to a fact. This characterization is based 
on the first impression and may be entirely justified by that impression ; 
but another consideration comes in, namely, to see if what has been 
noticed at the beginning continues to bear the same aspect throughout 
the inquiry. It is self-evident that details must be modified, but we do 
not here refer to these ; we confine our attention to the nature of the 

The most important examples to be noticed here are those where the 
problem is whether a violent death is caused by suicide or by unknown 
causes. Too much attention cannot be given to cases of this kind ; they 
will be treated of later, e.g., Chapter xvi, Section vi, " Poisoning " : 
Section iii, "Death by firearms": Section iv, "Death by strangulation." 
Above all a minute examination must be proceeded with where persons 


are believed to have been drowned, to have fallen from a height, to 1 
have been suffocated,' or to have died of sudden illnesses (with vomit- '; 
ings, diarrhoea, cramp, etc.). - 

It is safe to affirm with certainty that an enormous proportion of such 
cases is due to the hand of another. Many other crimes are often in 
reality quite different from what one wanted to take them for. The 
Investigating Officer of experience will disregard at first sight quite a 
series of crimes and will enquire whether he does not find himself in the 
presence of something quite different ; to this category belongs robbery 
with violence, or armed with deadly weapons. People often pretend to 
have been victims to this grave crime where they wish to cover up 
the loss of money. The Investigating Officer must therefore be on his 
guard when a person declares that a sum of money has been stolen from 
his custody, even the grave wounds which the victim of the theft will 
pretend to have received may be disregarded. Often a man who has 
gone wrong, lost at cards, dissipated or hidden the money held in trust, 
will inflict such w^ounds on himself. The author has met with two 
cases of this kind in which a peasant, having lost at play the money 
received for the sale of his cattle, made pretence of robbery merely to 
avoid the reproaches of his wife. 

Rape, again, is often set up to hide the downfall of a young girl who 
wishes to avoid her shame, by turning the pity and sympathy of every- 
one towards her ; girls often enough invent attacks by quite unknown 
persons or, graver still, they bring false accusations against persons 
named. In such a case the real seducer is hardly ever accused of the 
rape, — he is spared — and no charge is made until the fact of pregnancy 
is certain. Then the woman allows herself to be seduced by a second 
person and the latter only is accused of the rape. Unhappily in this case 
the proof of the falsity of the charge can often only be made later on, at 
the birth of the child; the date of this shows that conception must have 
occurred long before the pretended rape. In such a case, therefore, one 
must never neglect immediately after the birth to have the child exam- 
ined by experts in order to know whether or not it has attained its full 
term, for, as we have supposed, at the time of the ])retended ra{)e the 
woman was already a long time enceinte. 

It is not uncommon to find peo[)le inflicting wounds on themselves^^^ ; 
such are, besides persons pretending to be the victims of assaults with 
deadly weapons, those who try to extort damages or blackmailers ; thus 
it often happens that after an insignificant scuffle, one of the combatants 



shows wounds which he pretends to have received. To this category 
also belong people who declare that certain named persons have recently 
caused them wounds which in reality date from a long time before : the 
profit made in such a case from dislocations, old sores on the eyes or ears, 
and above all from rupture, is well known. Ninety per cent, of affections 
of this kind, pretending to arise from recent quarrels, bad treatment, etc., 
date from long before. Profit is also made from wounds received from 
machinery, etc. ; they are exaggerated or fraudulently mixed up with old 
complaints^^"*^^ : the cure is also purposely delayed. We are acquainted 
with not a few cases where, when the author of the wounds is worth 
powder and shot, all sorts of means are employed to keep them open 
or aggravate them in order to obtain a bigger indemnity. Bailway and 
Insurance companies are particularly exposed to frauds of this description. 

It is only too little known that many quacks follow the profession of 
helping people who require " an artificial sickness ". In some countries 
in which conscription exists, these gentlemen drive a roaring trade in 
giving young men illnesses to free them from military service. They can 
confer heart disease, carbuncle, jaundice, boils, skin diseases and injuries 
of every kind^**\ 

Singular, but not so very rare, are cases where individuals castrate 
themselves and impute these mutilations to nomads, gypsies, tinkers, 
pedlars. Sec, but always to unknown people. It is characteristic of these 
voluntary mutilations that most frequently those who perform them do 
not quite complete the operation, and that they are for the most part 
men who manifest excessive piety^^^'^*^ or lead a solitary life, as shepherds, 
gamekeepers, Sec. 

Among wrongs to property, theft and arson are the most frequently 
simulated. In the first case loss of fortune and breach of trust are most 
frequently sought to be disguised under the pretence of theft ; as a rule 
it is not very difficult to prove the falsity. The most important point is 
that the Investigating Officer should continually remind himself that the 
theft might very well have been a sham. In many cases the point must 
be elucidated ; it is not necessary to make a noise about it straight away, 
but let him keep this idea ever before him and examine from this aspect 
each of the circumstances. After asking himself what any fact would 
signify if thei-e had been a real theft, let him ask himself w^hat that 
fact would signify if the theft were only concocted. The Investigating 
Officer ought never to permit himself to abstain from making this exam- 
ination by the rank and situation of the supposed victim of tlie theft, 

20 !rHE Investigating officer 

by the cleverness of the mise-en-scene, or by any other consideration. 
Not only must the self-made victim be shown up, but innocent people 
who may be suspected must be protected. 

It often happens that people set fire to property belonging to them- 
selves in such a way as to arouse a suspicion that a fire has been started 
by others ; their aim is often to obtain the amount for which they are 
insured, often to hide the bad state of their affairs, often to get rid of the 
traces of a murder or some other crime. In many cases the proof of 
these facts is not so difficult as it appears. The important point is always 
to remember that it is possible that they may have wished to hide 
something ; this ought not to be from the start a suspicion amounting to 
strong probability, but only a door open to every explanation. In order 
to know exactly the attitude to be maintained towards what has passed, 
all the circumstances of the crime must be clearly taken into account and 
submitted to strict logical examination from their cdmmencement to 
their last stage. If at a given moment something has not been explained, 
suspicion is justified and pause must be made at the point where the 
logical sequence is broken, for the purpose of examining if there is no 
better way of explaining the fact. If one is found the rest of the inquiry 
is easy. 

Section y. — Certain Qualities essential to an Investigating Officer. 

It goes almost without saying that an Investigating Officer should 
be endowed with all those qualities which every man would desire to 
possess — indefatigible zeal and application, self-denial and perseverance, 
swiftness to read men and a thorough knowledge of human nature, edu- 
cation and an agreeable manner, an iron constitution, and encyclopaedic 
knowledge. Still there are some special qualities whose importance is 
frequently overlooked to which attention may be peculiarly and forcibly 

First and above all an Investigating Officer must possess an abundant 
store of energy ; nothing is more deplorable than a crawling, lazy, and 
sleepy Investigating Officer. Such a man is more fit to be a gentleman- 
at-large than an Investigating Officer. He who recognises that he is 
wanting in energy can but turn to another branch of the legal profession, 
for he will never make a good investigator. Again the Investigating 
Officer nmst be energetic not only in special circumstances, as when, for 
example, he finds himself face to face with an accused person who is hot- 
headed, refractory, and aggressive, or when the work takes him away 


from office and he proceeds to record a deposition or make an arrest 
without having his sta^ or office bell to aid him ; but energy must always 
be displayed when he tackles a difficult, complicated, or. obscure case. 
It is truly painful to examine a report which shows that the Investigating 
Officer has only fallen to his work with timidity, hesitation, and nerv- 
ousness, just touching it so to speak w^ith the tips of his fingers ; but there 
is satisfaction in observing that a case has been attacked energetically 
and grasped with animation and vigour. The want of special cleverness 
and long practice can often be compensated by getting a good grip of the 
case, but want of energy can be compensated by nothing. Those in- 
comparable words of Goethe, true for all men, are above all true for the 
criminal expert, 

Strike not thoughtlessly a nest of wasps, 

But if you strike, strike hard." 
The Investigating Officer must have a high grade of real self-denying 
power. It is not enough that he is a clever reckoner, a fine speculator, 
a careful weigher of facts, and possesses a good business head, he must 
be self-denying, unostentatious and perfectly honest, resigning at the out- 
set all thoughts of magnificent public successes. The happy-go-lucky 
apprehension of the policeman, the effective summing up of the judge, the 
clever conduct of the case by a counsel, all meet with acknowledgment, 
astonishment, and admiration from the public, but such triumphs are not 
for the Investigating Officer. If the latter be working well, those few 
people who have had an opportunity of really studying the case as it goes 
along will discover his unceasing and untiring work from the documents 
on the record and will form some correct idea of the brain work, power of 
combination, and extensive knowledge which the Investigating Officer 
has employed. The Investigating Officer will be held responsible for the 
smallest and most pardonable mistake, while his care and his merits are 
seldom acknowledged. Let him be conscious of having done his duty in 
the only possible way. Beyond this we can only say, " Virtue is its own 

. Another quality demanded at any price from the Investigating Officer 
is absolute accuracy. We do not mean by this that he must set out 
details in the official records exactly as they have been seen or said, for it 
goes without saying that this will be so done. The quality indicated 
consists in not being content with mere evidence of third parties or hear- 
l^say w^hen it is possible for him to ascertain the truth with his own eyes 
I'or by more minute investigation. This is to say no more than that the 


Investigating Officer should be accurate in his work, in the sense of 
being "exact," as that word is used in its highesf scientific signification. 
Indeed the high degree of perfection to which all sciences have to-day 
attained is entirely due to "exact" work; and if we compare a recent 
scientific work, whatever the subject, with an analogous book written 
some decades ago, we will notice a great difference between them arising 
almost wholly from the fact that the work of to-day is more exact than 
that of yesterday. Naturally in all inquiries a certain amount of im- 
agination is necessary ; but a comparison between two scientists of our 
time will always be to the advantage of the one whose work is most 
exact : the brilliant and fruitful ideas of the scientist which astonish the 
world being often far from sudden and happy inspirations but the out- 
come of exact research. In close observation of facts, in searching 
for their remotest causes, in making unwearied comparisons, in insti- 
tuting disagreeable experiments, in short, in attempting to elucidate 
a problem, the Investigating Officer will observe it under so many 
aspects and passing through so many phases that new ideas will sponta- 
neously come to him which, if found to be accurate and skilfully utilised, 
will certainly give positive results. Since "exactness", or accuracy of 
work, is of so much importance in all branches of research, this accuracy 
must also be applied to the work of the Investigating Officer. But what 
is to be understood by accurate w^ork ? It consists in not trusting to 
others but attending to the business oneself, and even in mistrusting 
oneself and going through the case again and again. By so proceeding, 
one will certainly bring about an accurate piece of work. A thousand 
mistakes of every description would be avoided if people did not base 
their conclusions upon premises furnished by others, take as established 
fact what is only possibility, or as a constantly recurring incident what 
lias only been observed but once. True it is that in his work the 
Investigating Ofhcer can see but a trifling portion of the facts nor can 
he repeat his observations. He is obliged largely to trust to what 
others tell him and it is just here that the difhculty and insufficiency 
of his work lie. But this inconvenience can to a certain extent be 
remedied ; on the one hand by wherever possible making sure of things 
for himself instead of accepting what others tell him ; and on the other 
hand by trying to give a more exact form to the statements of others, by 
comparison, experiment, and demonstration, for the purpose of testing 
the veracity of the deponent's observation and obtaining from him some- 
thing exact, or at least more exact, than before. In endeavouring to 


verify the facts for himself tlie Investigating Officer must personally 
examine localities, make measurements and comparisons, and so form his 
own opinion^**\ If a small matter which can only be established by accu- 
rate observation is in question, data furnished incidentally must not be 
relied upon but only ascertained facts and investigations specially carried 

In an important case the circumstantial evidence had been brought 
together and conclusions thereby suggested drawn, results wiiich might 
have been of decisive importance in clearing up the case. At the last 
moment it came into the head of some outsider to ask if the distance 
between two points was really two thousand paces. That was one of the 
grounds of the argument so artistically built up : in fact two witnesses 
had declared the distance to be two thousand paces. It was decided to 
send a policeman to visit the ground, and when the distance was found 
to be only four hundred and fifty paces the new conclusions rendered 
necessary contradicted the former ones. This is a typical example among 
hundreds of similar instances. 

It is much more difficult to point out how depositions can be rendered 
more exact, when they cannot be verified by actual inspection, de visit. 
Let it be granted that the witness is really desirous of speaking the truth 
and is merely a bad observer. In general, the matter should be elucidated 
by experiment, by ocular demonstration. Suppose a witness affirms that 
he wfVT beaten by H. for ten minutes. Let a watch be placed before 
him and ask him to take good note of how long ten minutes lasts and 
then sa/y whether it was really ten minutes. After a quarter of a minute 
he will exclaim, " It certainly did not last longer than that." Again a 
witness asserts that he is perfectly certain that he heard a cry coming 
from below, but trials on the spot pi'ove that he never can guess cor- 
rectly whether a cry conies from right or left, above or below. Again 
a witness says that, though he did not look very closely, H. held at least 
lis. Li in his hand; that he can swear to. "Very well," he is asked, 
V How many coins have I at present in my hand?" "Also about 12," he 
ansv/ers. But there are twenty-three. Again a witness declares, "When 
once I see a man I always recognise him again." " Did you see the 
])risoner who was being taken out as you came in?" you ask him. 
"Certainly I saw him very well," he answers. "All right, go and pick 
him out from ten other persons." 

A witness estimates an important distance at, let us say, 200 yards : 
let him be brought out of doors and say how far might be 100, 200, 800, 



400 yards ; if now these distances be measured, one can easily judge if 
and with what degree of accuiTicy, the witness can judge distances. As 
this judging of distances is often necessary, it becomes important to 
measure before-hand from a convenient window^ certain visible fixed 
points and to note the distances for future examinations. For years the 
author had many occasions for doing so from his office-room window and 
knew for instance : — to the left corner of the house — 65 yards ; to the 
poplar tree — 1'20; to the church spire — 210; to the small house — 400; to 
the railway — 950. By these distances he has often tested witnesses. If 
the witness proves fairly accurate in his estimates, his evidence may be 
considered important for the case under investigation. One can even 
rectify wrong estimates, if for instance we find out that the w^itness is 
accustomed to estimate always too high or too low; we can correct them 
by a species of personal equation. 

Such checks^^^"^''^ give the most instructive and remarkable results ; 
who ever practises them will soon be convinced that their importance 
cannot be exaggerated. 

If accuracy of work is necessary in even the most insignificant cases, 
it becomes in the highest degree important in serious cases where 
increased working material must be laid out for the future and a base 
of operations established. Here often the most incomprehensible things 
happen. While perusing the papers connected with grave cases one often 
remarks that, the base of operations once established, the work has been 
carried on with the greatest care and accuracy and much sagacity has 
been expended. But all this has been a dead loss, for in establishing the 
base of operations an accessory circumstance of seeming insignificance 
has not been accurately observed or estimated, a false premise has been 
included, and the w^hole of the stately fabric built up so laboriously 
reposes on a tottering and yielding foundation. Two cases will be 
described giving a clear idea of what has been said. 

In the first, interesting for more than one consideration, the singular 
fact came to light that the Investigating Officer actually stood for a lon^g 
time above the corpse of the murdered man without being able to find him. 
A blood-stained coat was found on the bank of a river in a fairly large 
town : about the same time a man named J. S.. who lived not far from 
this place disappeared. On inquiries being made the coat was discovered 
to be that of J. S. The latter could not be traced. Fifteen days later 
an old saw-setter turned up and declared that one morning (just after the 
disappearance) he had noticed traces of blood at a certain spot near the 


river in question but not on the bank where the coat had been found. The 
saw- setter could not read and was very deaf, so that he had not heard 
till some time afterwards about the disappearance of J. S. and of his 
probable murder. The place where the traces of blood were found was 
beside a bridge and at that point the river was banked up to a consider- 
able depth and bordered by a very high wall. Behind this wall the snow 
gathered from the streets of the town was usually thrown. After every 
snowfall great masses of snow were thrown over at this place, and, as in 
winter the river hardly ever came up to the foot of the wall, a bank of snow 
twelve feet long and twelve feet deep often became heaped up and did not 
melt till late in the spring. From the blood discovered by the saw-setter, 
which had long since disappeared, it was supposed that the dead man 
had been thrown over the spikes that crowned the wall on to the bank 
of snow below, and that he had been immediately buried beneath the 
sweepings of a heavy snowfall that had taken place on the night of his 
disappearance and which had been collected and thrown over in the early 
morning. This took place on the 15th December. It had snowed again 
on the 20th and 27th December, and on each occasion fresh quantities of 
snow had been thrown on to the bank in question, but during that winter 
no snowfall was so heavy as the first. The investigators began to shovel 
these masses of snow into the river for the purpose of finding the corpse 
of the murdered man. Representatives of Justice were present in order 
to draw up reports in the event of a discovery being made. Now the 
Investigating Officer desired to know whether the first snowfall had 
really taken place on the 15th December, that is to say, on the night of 
the disappearance of J. S., he himself having no exact recollection on the 
point. He was informed tliat the 15th December was the date of the 
second snowfall which was not nearly such a heavy one as the first, so 
that the body ought to be found resting on a bed of snow of a consider- 
able depth formed by the first very abundant snowfall. It was added 
that on the 15th, this bed must have been 6 to 8 feet in height. It was 
then decided to dig until they had arrived approximately at the first bed 
of snow, where the murdered man ought to be found. They dug and 
shovelled away the snow and when what remained was no more than 
four feet in depth and it was certain that they had long before reached the 
first bed the work was abandoned. But the saw- setter though old and deaf 
was not mistaken ; for when the late spring had melted away the snow, the 
corpse of the murdered man was found quite at the bottom, on the ground 
bordering the river and at the very spot over which the Investigating 






Officer had stood for hours when the snow was being shovelled' 
The explanation was simply that the people questioned by the Investi- 
gating Officer concerning the date of the first snowfall were mistaken ; 
the fall of the 15th December was not the second but the first of that 
winter, the corpse had been thrown over the wall when as yet no snow 
had been deposited beneath it, and it was therefore necessary to search 
below and not above the first bed. If the Investigating Officer had 
been more accurately informed about the date of the first fall, he would 
have removed that bed as well and the corpse would have been found. 
But much time had run on and to this day the author of the crime is 

The second case also relates to a murder and points out how inexact 
indications furnished by a large number of witnesses might have turned 
suspicion from the real criminals and let it fall upon an entirely innocent 
person. Two peasants of evil reputation and involved circumstances, 
Sp. and B., had induced a third peasant T., an old man, to accompany 
them to a cattle market, some considerable distance away, for the purpose 
of purchasing cattle. They left their common residence at S. together 
in the early morning and walked as far as L. where they rested during 
the middle of the day. At three o'clock they set out again with the object 
of going by way of V. to D. there to pass the night, so as to arrive 
the morning after at M. the place where the market w^as to be held, only 
a league distant. The next day T. was found stretched in the ditch beside 
the road between the places L. and V. but nearer to V. He was badly 
wounded in the nape of the neck and was unconscious ; in the course of 
the following day he came to himself and declared that all three had, 
as we have said, left L. after their midday meal just as the hour of 
three was striking on the church clock and liad continued on their way; 
after having walked for about an hour, Sp. and B. all at once asked 
whether the market would not be forbidden owing to cattle plague and 
said that information about it would have to be obtained in a village 
some distance from the road. But T. had declared that there was nothing 
to support their idea and besides that the information could be obtained 
at any inn along the road. Those on the road, he had added, were better 
informed than those away from it ; and it was useless to further lengthen 
their already long journey by making a detour by that village. But Sp. 
and B. were so obstinate about it that T. supposed that they had some- 
thing to do there which they wished to hide from him, probably the 
purchase of a beast which they did not want him to know about ; and so 




e had told them to go to the village while he would slowly continue on 
his way until his tw^o companions should rejoin him on the road after their 
detour. But the two were away a long time and he sat down to await 
them on a mile stone, turning his back to the road, for the wind was 
violent and raised up a great dust. All at once he received a tremendous 
blow from behind on the head and he remembered nothing more. The 
money set aside for the purchase of the cattle had disappeared. 

Some days later T. died of his wounds without the possibility of again 
questioning him. Sp. and B. declared, in a way that certainly bore out 
each other's statement, that they had really been to the village for no other 
purpose than to obtain information regarding the market ; that they had 
even at an inn questioned two wayfarers about it and that they had then 
started to rejoin T., but had not found him on the road and had seen 
nothing of him lying in the ditch. They had then come to the conclusion 
that he had gone on to V. or D., but as they had not found him they 
had proceeded to the market at M. They had not heard speak of a man 
having been half killed until they were on their way back. They had 
even been invited to go and see him at the house of a peasant, because he 
had been identified by no one. They had then recognised their comrade 
T. That they had not seen him when he was already doubtless wounded 
and stretched in the ditch beside the road was explained by the fact that 
when they passed the scene of the crime it was already night, being in 
the last days of autumn. Preliminary inquiries pointed to the fact that 
Sp. and B. had the intention of attacking T. at night fall and of killing 
him and stealing his money. In order to plan at their ease the details 
of the attack, they had made the pretext of going to the village to 
ask for information concerning the market ; for they very well knew 
that T., who was the worst walker of thet hree, would not agree to the 
detour. They could not possibly know that T. w^ould sit down on the 
stone and turn his back to them, but they would probably have chosen 
for the place of the crime a forest to be passed through after dark. But 
having seen him in a position so favourable to. their scheme and the road 
being at that part very deserted and quiet, they had immediately seized 
the opportunity of striking him down from behind and plundering him. 

There was but one cirumstance in favour of the accused, namely that 
the story as told by them was not improbable. A stranger might have 
killed T. and plundered him and the two men would have been unable to 
see him in passing, because it was already dark. In fact many of the 
country people were questioned and unanimously stated that at that time 



of the year, if one left L. at three o'clock and made the detour By ine 
village in question, one could not, at the slow pace of persons fatigued as 
the three men in question then were, arrive at the scene of the crime 
before it was quite dark. That the departure from L. took place at 
three precisely was spoken to not only by the two accused but also by 
many other persons with whom they had kept company at the inn. One 
of the former had even remarked *' There goes three o'clock, we must 
be off as we have still a long way to go." In spite of this weak point in 
the prosecution, Sp. & B. were found guilty. 

At the beginning of spring the accused demanded a revision of the 
case ; they succeeded in effect in to some extent shaking the case for the 
prosecution. They fastened suspicion on a young man of bad character 
who used to roam about in the neighbourhood of the scene of the crime 
and as the point in favour of the accused already indicated, namely, 
whether they could have seen T. lying wounded in the ditch, always 
preserved its importance, they proceeded to arrest the young man and 
revise the case against Sp. and B. At this juncture the Investigating 
Officer took it into his head to investigate the incident on his own account. 
It was naturally impossible to await the end of the autumn, which was 
the time of year at which the crime was committed, so he asked two 
astronomers to indicate that day in spring which as regards light, sunset, 
etc., would most closely correspond with the day in autumn on which 
the crime took place: he then repaired to the scene on the given day 
accompanied by a magistrate. They left L. at three o'clock precisely, 
walking slowly, as Sp. B. & T. were supposed to have walked ; they 
made a detour by the village and remained there as long as Sp. and B. 
said they had remained, in order to give the accused the benefit of all the 
circumstances in their favour. When they arrived on the scene, it w^as 
still broad day-light ! They then made every imaginable trial. They j 
lay down by turns in the ditch on the side of the road where T. had ? 
fallen from the milestone on receiving the blow^ and where he had been 
found on the following day. They then alternately went back along the 
road, turned round, and advanced, and came to the conclusion that from 
no matter what side of the road, and even at a considerable distance, one 
could not miss seeing that a man was lying in the ditch and no one could 
possibly pass without perceiving him. Only after lengthy experiments did 
night fall. It was thus settled that the statements of all the witnesses 
rested on false suppositions and the only circumstance which had shown 
in favour of the accused did not, after exact verification, exist at all. 


A number of analogous examples could be cited ; every Investigating 
Officer has come across them during his career. Just because they are so 
frequent they cannot be too strongly insisted upon ; and the decisive import- 
ance of having the base of operations very firmly established cannot be too 
frequently pointed out. Besides, as has been indicated, it is mankind's 
nature to cling to points of support which have but little solidity ; one hears 
of a circumstance (often but incidentally referred to by a witness) and is 
easily disposed on its verification to base an argument upon it. Perhaps 
this argument is not without merit and, giving satisfaction, another and 
yet another argument is made to cling to it. The case grows interesting 
and a successful result is in sight. All the points thus gathered together are 
most minutely and carefully gone into, but meanwhile the re-verification 
of the primary fact on which the whole structure is based has been neg- 
lected. Carried away by zeal and the desire to bring the case to some 
conclusion, the Investigating Officer has proceeded too fast and without 
the calm and prudence requisite to such inquiries, and so all his work has 
been in vain. There is but one way to avoid this, to proceed "steadily", 
be it at a walk, at a trot, or at the charge ; but in such inquiries a halt 
must from time to time be made and instead of going forward he must 
look back. He will then .examine one by one the different points of the 
inquiry, taking them up in order from the beginning. He will analyse 
each acquired result even to the smallest factor of those apparently of 
the least importance, and when this analysis is carried to its furthest 
limits, will carefully verify each of these factors from the point of view 
of its source, genuineness, and corroboration. If the accuracy of these 
elements be established, they may then be carefully placed one with 
another and the result obtained examined as if viewed for the first time. 
The case will then generally assume quite another complexion, for at the 
outset the sequence was not so well known ; and if it has a different aspect 
from at first each time the matter is so revised, the question has to be 
asked whether it is in proper adjustment with the whole argument which 
lias been formulated and whether there is any mistake to rectify. If the 
whole result is defective, the Investigating Officer must have sufficient self- 
denial to confess, "my calculation is false, I must begin all over again." 

Section vi. — Knowledge of Men. 

One of the requisites necessary to enable an Investigating Officer to 
work with accuracy is a profound knowledge of men, for after all he can- 
not advance a step without utilising the agency of men. The people who 




play a role in an inquiry are only useful to furnish proofs ; they render 
just as much or just as little service to the Investigating Officer as he 
knows how to exact from them. The impression of a foot found on the 
scene of a crime is absolutely of no significance to an ignorant Investigat- 
ing Officer, but it is a decisive proof if he knows how to make use of it. 
A witness will tell nothing or make but inaccurate and unimportant state- 
ments to an incompetent Investigating Officer, while the very same wit- 
ness will make precise, true, and important statements to an Investigat- 
ing Officer who can read him at a glance and knows how to handle him. 
And if an Investigating Officer who has no knowledge of men by chance 
discovers the truth, it is worthless to him. There are w^itnesses who really 
desire to tell the truth, but when witnesses do not wish to do so the result 
is truly lamentable. The record shows only how the Investigating Officer 
has let himself be duped by the witnesses and led by them just where they 
chose. A treatise on the knowledge of human character, teaching how 
really to know men, has never yet been written and probably never will 
be ; we can but indicate certain methods available in particular cases, few 
though these unfortunately are. 

A most important and really valuable means is the study of docu- 
ments, if there be any, forming the record of the career of the accused. 
One can then start with more confidence. If the matter is of some 
importance, the old record must be studied as if bearing on the case in 
hand. It is not sufficient for example to merely read through the state- 
ments of the accused and to look up a few important registers, — the 
record must be studied in its entirety, the whole history must be gone 
through step by step and in its fullest development, in order to see how 
the accused has defended himself on previous occasions and compare that 
defence with his present one. It is astonishing how men stick to the 
same defence and justification of their conduct, even after a long space 
of time. This is not to say that an individual who pleads guilty once 
will do so always, or that if he has once endeavoured to vindicate himself 
by throwing suspicion upon the witnesses, that he will repeat the charge 
upon every occasion ; nothing in life repeats itself with such servile 
accuracy ; but the broad lines of the picture, the whole impression that 
the examination has produced, will be renewed as often as he is examined. 
Every Investigating Officer who, following the procedure indicated, studies 
at the outset the antecedent record of the accused will receive at the 
commencement of the new examination the impression that the accused 
is striking out a new line ; but as the examination advances he will regain, 


little by little but very accurately, the impression as a whole and will 
be definitely convinced that his man has not changed. The process is 
indeed identical, only perhaps with the difference that the individual has 
in the mean time acquired more experience, has become more cunning 
and more circumspect, or on the other hand that he has become older 
and has fallen away somewhat in craftiness and address. The picture 
previously seen has become tarnished, but the broad lines stand out quite 
plainly. If one is in possession of the records in several cases relating to 
the accused, and if they have been carefully studied, one will know his 
man so well as to be able to say in advance how he will behave and what 
explanations he will give, on what points he may be believed, about what 
he will lie, and how he must be handled in order to extract the truth 
from him. The study of old records is very important not only in the 
case of the accused, but also as regards important witnesses who are 
themselves old offenders or who have given evidence in other cases. In 
this way one often discovers how easiest to handle the witness, what to 
say to him, how far to believe him, and the readiest method of proving 
him to be a liar. 

Another guide to the knowledge of men consists in bringing to the 
examination the closest attention and in seeking all the time to read the 
very soul of the man. The Investigating Officer who examines his 
witness only in order to complete a formaHty, who closes the inquiry 
solely in order to make an end of it, will certainly find few occasions 
of increasing his knowledge of men. If the Investigating Officer wishes 
to know men, every individual who enters his room must become an 
object worthy of study from the first moment. The manner in which 
he presents himself, looks around, allows himself to be questioned, 
replies, asks questions in return, in a word the way in which he behaves, 
ought never even in the most insignificant affair be a matter of in- 
difference to the conscientious Investigating Officer. He must always 
make himself form an idea as to whether the person has spoken the 
truth and the whole truth, or whether he has lied, or passed over 
something in silence. He must also look for the motives prompting 
the individual to act in the way in which he has done, how his state- 
ments fit in with the circumstances which have to be taken into account, 
the effect he is desired to produce, what was of importance to himself, 
and what means he has employed to make his testimony appear sincere 
and accurate. The Investigating Officer ought to remember, or better 
still note down, what he has thus observed or believes he has observed. 


This will be of use to hiin during the course of the inquiry. If in its 
course he finds a circumstance proving the accuracy or inaccuracy of 
the previous observations, he secures in the first case confirmation of 
the view taken and in the second will endeavour to find out why he has 
been deceived and discover where and how the error has taken birth. 

Before finally leaving a case the Investigating Officer has a fresh 
opportunity at the time of the general revision, always necessary on 
other grounds, of going over all he has observed and comparing it with 
the results obtained ; this work costs much time and trouble but great 
profit is obtained from it in the shape of valuable and interesting observ- 
ations for future guidance. Above all, where the Investigating Officer 
has succeeded in completely elucidating an intricate case and has arrived 
at an unexpected result, then it is most useful to go again over the 
inquiry and verify all the depositions of the witnesses, noting how they 
accord with the now known course of events. He can then understand 
why such a witness spoke with so much hesitation or why another was 
so embar rased, and he comprehends a mass of equivocal and uncertain 
statements. Many things which appeared to be quite contradictory now 
fit in together neatly : he can explain the tone of voice, the doubt, or the 
assurance, shown by the witnesses while giving evidence ; for future 
cases this task is most valuable. 

Yet it is not in the exercise of his duty that the Investigating 
Officer can best acquire this knowledge of men, but in his daily and 
ordinary life, in his relations with his fellows, and in the course of 
ordinary events. He does indeed learn while w^orking and every case 
teaches him something new ; but his necessary occupations give him 
so much to do and in so many ways that they are not precisely the 
best suited for imparting instruction. In following his profession he 
must always be in possession of pre-acquired knowledge ; this may bo 
perfected and increased, but the true time for studying is gone. The 
principle reason is that nothing can be properly learned without actual 
experience. ''Practice is better than precept," rightly says a popular 
proverb. But experience can be very well gained in private life, while it- ^ 
is not always convenient to acquire it during the exercise of one's pro- 
fession. To this end everything in life can be utilised — every conversa- , 
tion, every concise statement, every word thrown out by chance, every ' 
action, every aspiration, every trait of character, every item of conduct, 
every look or gesture, — observed in others, be it only for a moment or 
during a long course of years, and compared with events as they arise, 

'I^H^^^ft! M 


ascertained facts, and realities. The Investigating Officer ought indeed 
to keep a balance sheet for every man with w^hom he conies into 
contact, noting down therein his observations upon his acts, his words, 
and physiognomy, balancing them with events, making comparisons, 
and controlling and verifying them. The best way to fill his diary, 
if he keeps one, will be to write down observations on himself and 
others. But many things can be learned without written notes. As 
a rule we find no difficulty in remembering the impression made upon 
us by the actions of others and do not easily forget the discovery of 
the mistakes we have made as regards them. To him who goes through 
life with no desire to enlighten himself, these disillusionments only 
produce a painful impression ; but he who wishes to profit by his ex- 
periences in life can obtain from them lessons of utility. " The best 
employed money," says a Frankfort Philosopher, " is that of which we 
have been defrauded, because with that money we have purchased the 
circumspection necessary to life." 

The Investigating Officer can also profit by those painful experiences, 
which are the most numerous in life. They invariably arise from false 
ideas we have acquired and, when the mischief comes, we may yet derive 
great profit from it, if, instead of bewailing our loss, we look upon it as 
an "interesting problem " and try to find the cause. The Investigating 
Officer will in such a case revive the idea first formed, attempt to discover 
how he formed it, and compare it with the experience just undergone : 
the mistake committed may then be recognised, he will not repeat it, 
and will be able to make use of the acquired results of experience in his 
profession as criminal investigator. 

Other experiences than those in which we ourselves take part may 
prove valuable. The smallest observation may some day be of decisive 
importance. We are told something and believe it and later we discover 
its inaccuracy ; something is told us which we do not believe and after- 
wards find to be quite true. This sort of thing appears of little import- 
ance in life, but there is matter for instruction in it if we care to find 
out how we have allowed ourselves to fall into error, how the mistake 
arose — whether voluntarily or not, — how we might have been able to 
discover the truth at the time, and why we did not discover it. Perhaps 
subsequent events will even enable us to find out the exact reason why 
the truth was kept dark, how our mistake came about, and finally the 
truth itself. Let us place ourselves in our former position and consider 
what our conclusion would then have been. By acting frequently in 




this way we will be the less liable to make mistakeb when analogous 
cases crop up. 

What is above all of importance in private life is to ferret out the 
motive for a lie. When a story about something has been related either 
to ourselves or to others, false in some particular which we only discover 
later on, we more often than not carry the matter no further, because it 
is of no importance in itself ; but if we wish to gather a lesson therefrom we 
will try — by a direct method for preference, as by frankly and honestly 
asking the question — to discover why the lie had been put in circulation. 
Most often we will find that the lie has been started out of human weak- 
ness rather than through real perversity. Throughout life we will find 
that lying is infinitely more common than is generally believed. We ] 
shall be much less disposed to be indignant about falsehoods if we re- 
cognise that the motives for them are most often perfectly childish and 
foolish. What an Investigating Officer has thus learned in private life | 
can often be utilised in important cases. He will understand that a man 
is not necessarily in league with a thief because he has not spoken the * 
truth, and that if he has told a falsehood it is often out of vanity or some 
other little human weakness. But in an actual case the motive which 
has led the Investigating Officer into error is of little importance. In 
many cases he will avoid being deceived by remembering these shabby 
motives ; but when even he has been convinced that the witness is not 
in league with the author of the crime, he ought always to go on investi- 
gating, in order to find out whether the witness had not some other 
motive for lying, — a motive which must often be sought for in quite 
another direction. 

Section vii.— " Orientation "—Finding his Bearings. 

The Investigating Officer is " oriente," that is, " lias found his 
bearings," (the metaphor is derived from the mariner's compass), when 
he knows his department, his district, his subordinates, his auxiliaries, 
the means at his disposal for facilitating his work, his possible diffi- 
culties, in short when he is acquainted with every thing he may come 
across in his official career and what may be of service or disservice to 
him. He must not forget that every case of even ordinary complexity 
presents or may present so many difficulties that when he comes to 
attack it he has neither time nor opportunity for studying the means 
calculated to lighten his labour or solve his difficulties. All this ought to 
have been seen to beforehand. 




Suppose that an Investigating Officer has just arrived at his post 
in some part of the country. His first duty is to make the acquaintance 
of his superiors and subordinates. It is self evident that the most im- 
portant person to him is his principle assistant — the magisterial clerk, 
or police inspector, or station-house officer, as the case may be — for 
all depends on this man's intelligence, willing co-operation, and knowledge 
of the district and people. When he can be trusted, his information is 
most valuable to the young Investigating Officer, more especially if the 
assistant happens to have been for a long time in his post. The Investi- 
gating Officer will then try to obtain information about the other officials 
so as to know what to expect from them. Every official under govern- 
ment, no matter what his duties, is bound to promote the general welfare 
and it is incumbent on him in important cases to lend assistance to 
officials in other services. But in order to command the help of other 
officials when needed, the Investigating Officer ought to be on good terms 
with them beforehand and in his own sphere to show himself as service- 
able to them. This co-operation may be most varied and extend to every 
imaginable branch of information. As a rule the most important thing to 
know is, to what extent one can rely upon and trust people with whom 
one has business. 

In the district in which the author started work, there was an old 
tax-collector who knew the people and country thoroughly, in whom 
he could repose the most absolute confidence, and who rendered him 
inestimable services. Nearly every day the author used to overwhelm 
him with questions and his kindness in answering them was inex- 
haustible. He had lived in the district for a long time, was a tireless 
walker, and, knowing the smallest village and its inhabitants, was 
acquainted with every thing he could be asked. " Can A be relied 
on?" "Can you also get from X to Y by way of Z?" "If someone 
steals a cow at M and brings it to N, can he go by way of the mountain 
at 0?" "What would be the weight of the largest trout that can be 
poached from the stream P?" "Has Q really the reputation of being 
a man of violence?" To a thousand questions of this kind, he would 
reply accurately and without hesitation. 

There are men of this description everywhere, only they must be 
found out. With such men at his disposition, much labour and trouble 
and many mistakes may be obviated. One such person is naturally 
jnot enough to give information, the Investigating Officer must have 
[them in every village and in each district. He ought naturally to 



procure certificates of good character and good conduct and other in- 
formation respecting different persons from the local police authorities, 
which should find their allotted place among his records. But anyone 
who has any experience knows full well that the value of such documents 
is in most cases very small. In theory these certificates should come 
from the members of the community itself, whereas they are in practice 
drawn up by officials and frequently a mere clerk prepares them. In 
such cases, but more especially in the latter, personal opinion, favour 
and disfavour, relationship and friendship, enmity and jealousy, play 
a great part. Where is there, for example, a Village Magistrate who 
has not in his village either relations or friends or someone with whom 
he is quarrelling or at arm's length? 

If the Investigating Officer knows this, and he ought to know it, 
he cannot in good conscience base his opinions or decisions entirely 
upon a certificate thus drawn up. To act conscientiously and wisely 
he ought to have men in whom he can trust, to whom lie can have 
recourse in difficult cases. It must not be thought the act of a spy to 
obtain information from people in whom we have confidence concerning 
individuals whose testimony is for the time being of importance. But 
jt is not only when the need makes itself felt that such persons must be 
sought out ; they must be already known for a long time and have been 
often tested, so that implicit reliance may be placed on them. Perhaps 
the Investigating Ofhcer will not be ready at first sight to admit the 
utility of these people, but when he has to appreciate the effect of an 
important but uncorroborated statement, or compare the value of two 
contradictory depositions, or still more to come to a conclusion as to 
the possibility of some one committing a crime of w^hich he is accused, 
then will he be too thankful to find an honest, serious, and trustworthy 
person, who knows the situation and can give information concerning the 
character of the persons in question. In European countries the most 
trustworthy information will generally be derived from the parish priest, •; 
but such a source of information is almost wholly wanting in India. 
The opinion of the military authorities upon old soldiers furnished in 
discharge notes and other documents is also of great importance. The 
offtcer in command of the company of the man in question has , had 
sufficient opportunities of observing him and that at a time when his 
character is revealed most forcibly and clearly. The accuracy and justice 
of the notes made by military officers, even when recorded a long time 
previously, is often most striking. 


The Investigating Officer ought to study as accurately as possible the 
local topography. From the moment an official becomes an Investigat- 
ing Officer, he is no longer anything but an Investigating Officer. All 
that he does, observes, studies, or hears, ought to be subordinated to the 
single aim of knowing how he can make use in his work of what he has 
learned. He ought not exclusively to occupy himself with one side of 
things, his knowledge ought to be extensive, — as extensive as possible. 
Everything can be of service to him, and it is exactly for this reason that 
he ought to obtain information about everything — but always with the 
view of making use of it as an Investigating Officer. He will be indeed 
unable to "go for a walk ", in the sense of strolling with mind at rest, 
enjoying peacefully the beauties of nature. He cannot go to the band 
merely for the pleasure of listening to the music. In all the walks he 
makes, either for pleasure or duty, an ordnance or survey map should be 
ill his hand so as to study thereon all the roads, hills, and water courses, 
engraving their names upon his memory. He ought to know to whom 
the smallest hut belongs, to make note of every road traversed, to seek 
out known localities, and establish their relative situation, their distance 
apart, and the means of communication between them, to know what can 
l)e seen therefrom, and how far the view extends. When he sets out he 
should look at his watch and should afterwards mark on the back of his 
map the time it takes from point to point. A peasant can but give in 
hours or parts of an hour or native measures of time, as naligais (24 
minutes), or jams (8 hours), the distance from his house to the temple, 
the toddy shop, the chavidi, the tannah, the nearest railway station, etc., 
otc, for he finds it inconvenient to arrive late at a religious ceremony, 
miss his train, etc. If he is questioned upon any other distance, he will no 
doubt always answer promptly but also invariably inaccurately ; and this 
may often be the source of grave mistakes^^^\ It is not always possible 
when necessity arises to have the distance measured by an official and 
therefore a note of it should be taken in advance as opportunity presents. 
There are localities which the Investigating Officer must examine in the 
light of future events — hotels and drinking shops and brothels, because 
of brawls that may take place in them, mortuaries because of post mortems 
that may be carried out there, ponds and wells in villages on account of 
possible accidents by drowning, forests because of poaching and illicit 
lolling, etc. He must try to become acquainted with the local police 
stations, the organisation of forest guards, the beats of the preambulating 
police force, salt and abkari circles, tanks and irrigation svstems, the 


manner of closing doors, windows, stables, and outhouses. Within the j 
distance of a league one often finds quite dissimilar practices. 

Attention must also be paid to industrial works and technical instal- 
lations, which vary greatly according to localities ; because, when the h 
case arises, one often finds very great difficulty in unHerstanding them^! 
from the descriptions given of them, which are always more or less 
defective. A flour-mill, an oil-mill, a saw^-mill, a blacksmith's forge, 
a stone quarry, a coke furnace, a brick and tile kiln, and many other 
industrial establishments, differ in appearance in different localities and 
cannot be pictured from mere description ; to know what they are really 
like, they must have been seen. Every one has found by experience 
that he can form but a very inexact idea of one of these places from 
a mere verbal description ; on the other hand it is thoroughly compre- 
hended if seen only once. A great many educated people have never 
entered a flour-mill or a saw^-mill in their lives, and yet such establish- 
ments have considerable interest. This is all the more surprising as 
every one must have passed, say an oil-mill, hundreds of times and could 
have inspected it without any inconvenience. The Investigating Officer 
should never let slip an opportunity of visiting an industrial establish- 
ment or factory, of having everything shown and explained to him in 
the most detailed manner ; he will generally find the management ready 
to afford every information. Every man, especially the plain man, is 
pleased when interest is shown in his work and what he happens to be 
doing ; when he can teach and explain anything, he always exhibits j 
willingly and readily whatever there is to be seen. If one already knows 
something of what he is showing you, so much the better ; he will be 
the more disposed to speak. If one know^s nothing, care must be taken 
in questioning him, for ordinary folk cannot imagine that educated people 
know nothing of such every-day things. He will become distrustful and 
circumspect, fancying that he is being played w^ith. One must be con- I 
tented in such a situation with examining, asking short questions and 
listening ; on the next occasion things will work better. j 

If the Investigating Officer has some technical knowledge of this kind 
he can in many cases facilitate his work. Take for example a mill, not 
a very rare thing, and suppose that the Investigating Officer has never in 
his life set foot in one. An accident takes place in the mill, or a 
burglary, or a fraud or embezzlement by the staff, or a fire, etc. Each 
of these cases will have some connection with the technical construction 
of the mill. The accident has been brought about for instance by a fault 



of manufacture, or material, or want of supervision in some part of the 
building ; the burglar will also have profited by some portion of the 
machinery ; the staff could not have carried out the frauds without 
knowing the plan of the interior and the relative position of the various 
departments ; as regards fire one cannot possibly find how it has taken 
place without knowing the complete fitting up of the mill. How can an 
Investigating Officer conduct the inquiry in such a case when he possesses 
not the slightest assured base for his investigations ? Let it be again 
remarked that the recollection of places once seen is easily retained — 
most men find little difficulty in remembering places ; even when the 
details have been forgotten, the memory is soon refreshed when a witness 
begins to speak about them. 

Another important point is that of the means of communication in a 
district, main roads, ordinary roads, cart-tracks, footpaths, etc. It is not 
difficult to become acquainted with these. The Investigating Officer has 
only to find and mark on the map all the roads he has passed over and 
see whether they are correctly set down, which will probably be the case. 
As regards the principal arteries, corrections will mainly show where a 
main road has degenerated into a side track through the making of a 
new main road, or when a second class road has been promoted to the 
position of a main road. He will also note down any other changes that 
may have taken place, such as new buildings, houses abandoned, changes 
in the nature of the crops, alterations in water courses, etc. ; in short 
his map must be always kept up to date. Nor should ordinary foot 
bridges newly made or disused be forgotten; nor wells, tanks, marshes, 
ponds, or other pieces of water be overlooked. To these latter special 
attention must be given. On a map the extent and direction of the 
water may be seen, but this is not enough. We must note the depth, 
nature of banks, change in the volume of water, sluices, fords and dams, 
in short all particulars in connection wdth the water. For water plays a 
role in many a criminal case, and it is not easy to do good work while 
unacquainted with its usual aspects. 

Finally, attention must be paid to tlie interior of houses. When in 
the country the Investigating Officer has examined in full detail several 
peasant's houses, big and small, he knows practically all others, for they 
are constructed in accordance with a small number of types. But these 
several types must be known. The various parts of the houses and the 
uses they are put to must be noticed. Otherwise great difficulties would 
be encountered in the very first case of theft or burglary. Much 




confusion was caused in a case some time ago in Madras until it came out 
that the presiding judge was unaware of the ordinary plan of a Hindu 
house with one or more courtyards behind. Never having been in one, 
he imagined that the rooms facing the street formed, as in a European 
cottage, the whole house. 

It is also of the greatest importance that the Investigating Officer 
should be thoroughly posted up about the experts that he will have at 
his command when the occasion arises. Naturally he ought to be 
perfectly well acquainted w^th the special talents, singularities, and 
weaknesses, of the most important experts — the medical jurisprudents. 
But experts in other departments ought also to be known to him, such 
as experts in firearms, building, valuations, etc. All these should be 
known beforehand ; he must learn what to expect from them and 
how they may be usefully employed. But for this it will not suffice 
merely to know their profession, this can be done by reading ; their 
particular talents and singularities must be accurately ascertained. 

When a person is a good linguist, or has travelled, is a numismatist, 
has knowledge of horses, possesses a microscope, or a well-trained dog, 
he does not publish it to all the world, but each of these circumstances 
may be of the greatest utility in the mofussil. In the first case he 
can act as an interpreter, in the second make sure whether a criminal 
is speaking the truth about his supposed travels, in the third he can 
examine false coin, in the fourth discover a horse fraud, in the fifth 
lend his instrument to the medical man, and in the last lend his dog 
to track down some criminal. A photographic camera will always be 
useful. And even where an individual has no other peculiarity than 
that of having been born in a different country, he may still be useful 
in exposing some foreigner or stranger pretending perchance to belong 
to that very same country but actually speaking quite another dialect. 
In the smallest towns there are always certain people in possession of 
knowledge which may subsequently when occasion arises prove to be 
most valuable. 

If in towns the police force and its auxiliaries are of great value to 
the Investigating Officer, the rural police are none the less so, for without 
them he could do little and often nothing at all. But the result obtained 
with the aid of the police will in fact depend on the Investigating Officer 
himself. If the Investigating Officer is on good terms with the police 
force and knows how to make use of it he will be assured of good 
results ; otherwise the result will be negative ; and in the latter case the 


Investigating Officer is always at fault and not the Police^^^\ But a 
subordinate is not a machine ; even a pohceman, put into uniform and 
subjected to military discipline, preserves his individuality ; you cannot 
kill it and must therefore submit to learn how to make use of it. This 
is why the Investigating Officer should possess the most accurate inform- 
ation as to the humour, character, and education of his assistants. Take 
for example the case of a Magistrate directing an investigation by the 
pohce. Undoubtedly it is the business of the police Superintendent or 
Inspector and not of the Magistrate to select the individual officer to be 
employed for any special duty ; when the magistrate writes, " send a 
policeman to do so-and-so", such an order is irreproachable as an 
official order, — but is it enough? One officer is distinguished for tact, 
another for energy, another for unusual physical strength ; if in a 
difficult case one of these quaHties is specially demanded, everything may 
be lost if the right man is not employed. But quite possibly the 
Inspector does not know all the particulars of the case or the plans of the 
Magistrate ; often he has no time to study the details ; and if the Magis- 
trate does not go beyond a dry official letter, no great result can be 
expected. But if the Magistrate knows the men and their special quali- 
fications, he will take care to have a consultation with the Inspector as to 
the man to be detailed. Then he will have the officer sent to him, explain 
the case, and give him his opinions and plans ; he will listen also to the 
views of the officer, he w^ill take precautions against incidents which 
may crop up, he will discuss with him the various ways of setting to 
work ; in a word he will explain the whole matter as clearly as possible. 

Thus posted up the officer will certainly do his best ; his self conceit, 
thus awakened, will prove a powerful stimulant. And if his work is 
well done, he should be congratulated on his success ; a cordial word of 
encouragement and praise is so quickly given and goes so far. Think of 
the difficulty of a policeman's work : often heavily laden, often insuffi- 
ciently protected from cold or heat, he has to tramp many miles to fulfil 
a mission for which he is solely responsible, strictly tied down by the 
innumerable ligaments of red tape, unable to take counsel with anyone. 
He must display the finest tact, indomitable courage, do neither too 
much nor too little, and finally reduce the whole to the limits of a 
complete and accurate report. If he has done all this without mistake, 
his co-operation must prove most valuable ; and it is only common 
justice on the part of the Magistrate, whom he has saved so much 
trouble and work and whom he has provided with so useful a foundation 





for his further inquiries, to tender his devoted assistant a word of 
acknowledgement and thanks. He should also express liis satisfaction 
in presence of the man's comrades and superiors ; honour to whom 
honour is due. Well earned praise is the best stimulant of zeal ; nothing 
discourages a man so much as to find his superior always discontented, 
constantly finding fault, and never having a good word to say of anyone 
or anything ; this must be kept in view in all our relations with subor- 
dinate ofi&cials. 

Section viii. — Jurymen^^°~2^\ 

The idiosyncracies of Indian Jurymen have perhaps but little interest 
for the Investigating Officer ; indeed India and England are probably the 
only civilised countries, in which the officer, be he policeman or magistrate, 
who has investigated an offence has, except rarely and accidentally, 
nothing to do directly with its presentation before the higher tribunals. 
Indirectly of course he has, for upon the evidence collected by him 
will be based the brief of the Public Prosecutor or prosecuting Police 
Inspector. Occasionally he may have to "instruct" these Officers, but 
the " instruction " generally consists only of a readiness to answer any 
questions that may be suggested to them by the record. Still it will be 
useful for the Investigating Officer to bear in mind that his work may 
at times be submitted to a body of men whose decisions often can be 
explained by no discoverable principles and whose intellectual and moral 
faculties work in mysterious ways. Considering also that his labours 
will be presented to this body by a third person, it is all the more in- 
cumbent on him to endeavour, before the case leaves his hands, to 
eliminate every possible cause of error discernible by the eye of ordinary 
human intelligence. 

In this view, the Investigating Officer will endeavour to present the 
case to himself as it would appear to a person absolutely devoid of the 
experience he himself possesses. Every Investigating Officer will recall 
to memory how difficult he found it, when first starting on his career, to 
discover what was decisive and what not, what was true and what false, 
what possible and what impossible. He was impressed with a so-called 
" proof " which an experienced jurist would at once detect as worthless ; 
many things appeared to him as irrelevant which the instructed eye 
would fix on as the crucial point. He possesses knowledge of legal 
theories, of substantive law, and of procedure. The juryman knows 
nothing of these things ; he is expected all of a sudden to plunge into the 
whole history of the case, he has to understand the position of the various 



counsel, see what is proved for and against, retain in his mind a whole 
mass of detail, possess special knowledge, follow the pleadings, take note 
of the leading points, co-ordinating and making use of them, and finally 
bring a just judgment to bear upon the whole case, — all this without 
previous education, without experience, without practice. It is a hundred 
times beyond what any man can fairly be called upon to do. The 
advocate who has spent long years of his career appearing before juries 
and pleading before them, learns to read their faces and to tell the 
moment when they begin to understand the case. Generally jurymen are 
not wanting in a praiseworthy desire to comprehend everything ; their 
faces betray the nervous effort they make to see clearly, the expression 
grows more and more attentive and strained, it becomes a real mortifi- 
cation to them when they fail to follow the thread of the argument. At 
last these faces, causing the advocate such anxiety, relax and express 
satisfaction ; the jurymen see clear. But what has dissipated their per- 
plexity ? Alas, it is too often some insignificant and irrelevant statement 
of a witness, enunciated with emphasis ; the reading of a good conduct 
certificate of no importance, a word let fall by the judge, a mere guess of 
an expert advocate, may decide the case in the mind of the jury. The 
juryman clings to this insignificant detail, he never gives it up, he decides 
by it the guilt or innocence of the accused. 

The Investigating Officer should therefore in the course of his in- 
quiry never forget that his work may one day be placed before a jury of 
the uninitiated. These bestow great attention upon the mode in which 
an inquiry has been conducted, they are always trying to find out if 
the Investigating Officer is worthy of belief or not. As judges they are 
also incompetent ; an inexact though absolutely unimportant piece of in- 
formation, an insignificant contradiction, an unimportant gap, which a 
juryman has himself discovered in the inquiry, is sufficient motive for 
distrusting the whole case for the prosecution ; it loses all value in their 
eyes ; and the accused is acquitted in face of the most overwhelming 
proofs of his guilt. On the other hand a smart bit of procedure, the 
revelation of an accessory fact, or some other circumstance, will so please 
a jury that it will condemn the accused simply from confidence in the 
Public Prosecutor, the very man whose duty it is "to run the accused in." 

What has been said is no exaggerated statement ; facts easily verify 
it. A juryman, a huntsman, has been heard to say, " It was enough for 
me to see that the Public Prosecutor knew the close time for stag 
hunting ; he was the man for me, and I said 'guilty ' ; for if the accused had 




not been really guilty, the Public Prosecutor would have let him off long 
ago." A tradesman said, ''I cannot make up my mind to a verdict of 
guilty, for there are some points in the case not properly cleared up ; the 
Public Prosecutor does not seem to know^ much about the different kinds 
of coffee." Another juryman could not get over the following contra- 
diction ; a witness had said before the Committing Magistrate, " The 
man wore a black cap "; at the Sessions he said, '' The man had a dark 
coloured cap " ; even if there had been a contradiction it was absolutely 

Again the Investigating Ofhcer should be careful to arrange in as 
simple, clear, and comprehensible a manner as possible, all the documents 
that may have to be read at the trial, — search lists, inquest reports, 
reports of experts, previous depositions, letters, etc. x\bove all, the proofs 
of evidence must be taken down from the witnesses with scrupulous 
accuracy ; and it should be impressed on the witness to say exactly what 
he has seen or heard and not merely something like it. Many persons 
suppose it is matter of indifference which of several synonyms is em- 
ployed ; frequently it is of no importance, and an experienced judge 
know^s it does not matter if a witness who has spoken of " breeches " 
now uses the word "pantaloons." But the juryman who is unsettled 
by every little circumstance, who is on the pounce to detect contradic- 
tions, is astonished at this difference of expression and does not know 
what the consequences may be. 

It is dangerous for a Public Prosecutor to put forward conclusions, 
trusting to the Investigating Officer. Both he and the judge may have | 
the best of grounds for placing confidence in the Investigating Officer. 
But it is otherwise with that amateur judge, — the juryman, — the slight- 
est contradiction or mistake will destroy all confidence, all the more if the 
juryman be an expert or imagine himself to be one. One instance will 
suffice. The question was whether a bull when running could overthrow 
the fence of a garden. The Investigating Officer had stated in his report 
that, in his opinion, considering the construction of the fence, it was 
impossible ; this was a point in favour of the accused. But among the 
jurymen was a butcher, who maintained with persistent obstinacy that 
a bull could break down any fence whatever and this opinion alone 
was sufficient to convince him of the guilt of the accused. Argument 
was useless; the butcher kept repeating, "A mad bull is capable of 
anything and everything"; so the accused was found guilty although 
there was really nothing against him. 



All this is very human and easily explained ; we are all ready at all 
times to put forward our own knowledge, professional or special, parti- 
cularly when w^e know nothing about the matter really at stake. The 
words, '* Allow me, I know this class of business," constantly used even 
when there is no question of business at all, is regularly in evidence 
among jurymen, often entailing most unfortunate results. For the same 
leason care must be taken to guard against any mistake, even in the 
minutest detail ; if one of the jurymen discover a mistake, however 
irrelevant to the issue, the result of the whole case may depend on that 
and that alone. 

Finally, as has already been indicated, the case must be put before 
the jury with the greatest simplicity attainable. The mistakes and mis- 
understandings that arise when documents are read out, pass all belief. 
The juryman sees and hears during the case so many things he has never 
seen or heard before ; he is introduced into a strange world where he has 
to strain every nerve to comprehend but a little of what is going on. If 
the case is badly put before him, his trouble is increased and he sees 
everything awry. 

And if the documents, such as seai;ch lists, occurrence reports, etc., 
are crammed full of technical terms — understood well enough by police 
and lawyers — his confusion is worse confounded. But even if such be 
carefully excluded, a jury may comprehend nothing, if the document is 
not written in easy language, with clear statements logically agreeing 
with one another, so that the conclusions follow naturally, with no con- 
clusion based upon a supposition however probable, and every point easy 
to see^^*\ The whole should be such that the most simple-minded may 
comprehend it readily and without hesitation ; to secure this it is a good 
plan to read the whole beforehand to some trustworthy but ignorant 
fellow and make him repeat the sense of what has been read to him. 
(Jne will then hear the most astonishing things ; ideas which one thought 
expressed clearly and beyond the possibility of mistake, are found to be 
niisunder stood ; conclusions have been drawn just the opposite of those 
desired. When alterations have been made so that our man thoroughly 
understands the matter, it will be found that the phrases and words 
employed are the simplest possible : then we may risk putting it before a 
jury with comparative safety. 

The best method to adopt in every case that is to go before a 
jury is to arrange everything as if one were dealing with a child ; stick 
to the truth, draw no conclusions, exclude everything that may appear 


contradictory, use the simplest words, and be absolutely clear. In this 
wav failure may sometimes be avoided^^l w«^^^— 

Section ix. — " The Expeditious " Investigating Officer. 

The struggle with crime is after all only a war for which the first 
necessity is plenty of money ; money is the best aid for the conduct of 
criminal justice. With money, we can secure the best men and can pro- 
vide them with every modern aid to success ; with money, Investigating 
Officers may be remunerated suitably to their work and position, but in 
return we may expect to enlist picked men who will recognise that they 
must devote time and trouble in preparing themselves for a difficult but 
well paid career. Money can procure the best reports from the best 
experts, if adequately remunerated they will spare neither time, nor trouble, 
nor experiment. With money, independent witnesses can be procured, 
who if properly recompensed for loss of time and travelling charges will 
come willingly when they know anything about the matter, while if the 
examination of such a witness involves a material loss to him, he will try 
to conceal the fact that he knows anything, so as not to be obliged to 
appear before the court. With money, we can make journeys, researches, 
and costly experiments. And finally with money, a sufficient number of 
officials may be appointed, particularly Investigating Officers, so that 
each may work at his ease, with care and application, without overwork 
and hurry and without being interrupted at every moment. 

But if the service is undermanned and the pecuniary allotment is 
insufficient, what is to be done ? In answer to this query we have the 
invention of "the Expeditious Officer". What is this product of the 
official imagination? He is an Investigating Ofhcer who never com- 
plains of having too much work and who in truth never has too much ; 
for he closes his inquiry in a simple, easy and rapid manner. He neither 
creates nor discovers any difficulty; in his office are no " Gorgons and 
hydras and chimaeras dire," nor other monsters. He brings his inquiries 
to a conclusion before too many questions and too accurate investi- 
gations can swell them out and transform them into minotaurs bound 
to swallow up his time. 

Indeed every inquiry may be closed extremely quickly if one wishes ; 
if one considers it unnecessary to take the evidence of certain persons 
who have been named, there is no need to enter their names in the list of 
witnesses for the prosecution, and if they are not on the list, there is no 
necessity to question them ; here is time gained at once. Let some 


ignorant persons be asked whether a visit to the spot will help to clear 
up the case and they will reply no ; here then is sufficient excuse for not 
paying the visit and here again time is saved. A band of thieves is 
accused of having committed a dozen burglaries. There is quite enough 
evidence to get them convicted and one is not absolutely obliged to start 
the police upon investigations which may perhaps bring to light another 
dozen which the same band has committed ; here again time is saved. 
Suppose there is a big cheating case, it is quite the thing to pick up 
certain '' well established " facts and stop there ; doubtless to do the 
thing well one ought to place the matter on a wide basis and to study and 
clear up in its entirety the procedure of the person who has committed 
the fraud and examine the whole business from the point of view of 
loyalty to one's employers : but is one under any obligation to do so ? 
By not doing so more time is saved. Again w^hat a lot of work there is 
to fix the real blame in an accident case. What endless consultations 
with experts, what repeated visits to the spot, what minute questionings, 
all taking up such an enormous amount of time ; by fixing the respon- 
sibility upon the first workman who is found at fault, the whole case is 
ended like a shot. These examples might be multiplied without end ; a 
little time saved in each inquiry ends in the gain of a considerable amount 
in the long run ; the inquiries run on all right and when our artistic 
Investigating Officer is sufficiently skilled in suppressing the difficulties 
and obstacles that may prove troublesome in quick w^ork, he will well 
deserve the title of *' expeditious." 

Let the Investigating Officer who has no qualms of conscience when 
gathering such laurels, act thus if he so desires. It would be useless to 
try to turn him from his course. Whether he will be able to look back 
without remorse upon his work even though his fame for being ''expe- 
ditious " has brought him many substantial advantages, is another 
question. No one will suggest that inquiries should languish or be 
conducted slowly, that it is necessary to write or do what is absolutely 
superfluous, or to pigeon-hole papers so as to gain time for some happy 
inspiration to arise ; but in a serious inquiry we must seek out what may 
however indirectly furnish or corroborate proof of the guilt or innocence 
of an accused. The Investigating Officer who neglects this primary 
duty incurs a very great responsibility. The conduct of every inquiry 
costs much time and trouble ; the smallest piece of forgetfulness or the 
most pardonable carelessness may have the gravest and worst conse- 
quences ; to do good work and to be "expeditious", are two things 




which mutually exclude each other. Every Investigating Otttcer should 
renounce the vain glory of being considered *' expeditious ". 

Section x. — Accuracy and Precision in Details. 

We shall now notice certain details which, small in themselves, are 
of importance when taken together. It seems superfluous to state that 
the Investigating Officer should avoid all disorder, and yet it too often 
happens that an Investigating Officer who has not a natural instinct for 
order and neatness does not keep his eye close enough to many small 
matters, especially when he is much worried in his work. This often 
occasions subsequent regret ; it most frequently happens in an inquiry 
which at the outset appears to be of no consequence but which afterwards 
becomes important and assumes enormous proportions. 

At the outset things have not been put in proper order ; the oppor- 
tunity when more care might have been taken properly to tabulate the 
case and records, has passed unnoticed ; and the Investigating Officer 
suddenly finds himself in complete disorder and confusion in a matter 
which has become extremely and urgently important. Notes must 
therefore be kept in most minute order, the most insignificant things 
must be written down at once, so as not to accumulate for a future date 
fully occupied with unexpected work. Mistrust the hourly expression, 
" I will not forget " ; for the moment, it is remembered ; tomorrow, it is 
forgotten. This is all the more dangerous because it is just the more 
important things which one thinks will never be forgotten, and in con- 
sequence it is just the important things that are forgotten. Appointments 
with witnesses, things to be attended to on a certain day, adjournments, 
and in short all those things that have to be done at a certain fixed date 
must be carefully noted down. Further the notes already made must be 
run through so as to find out not only what time remains free, but also 
what has been assigned to the following days ; otherwise one may be 
disagreeably surprised at the last moment by an adjournment which is 
a])out to expire or a formality absolutely necessary to be accomplished. 

The Investigating Officer should be inexorable in demanding from his 
clerk a legible handwriting^^''~^\ One cannot demand from a person who 
does not 'possess it an elegant hand; biat anyone, given the will, can write 
legibly. The Investigating Officer must in case of need inspire his clerk 
with this humble ambition ; the clerk thinks perhaps that he gains a 
few minutes by writing rapidly; but those who have to read the record, 
himself included, will lose hours in deciphering what has been written 
too speedily to l)e legible. 



Equal care must be taken with regard to paging and numbering, 
the marking of exhibits, and marking for identification other objects 
not exhibited but connected with the case. If the subject-matter of the 
crime (such as the articles stolen or the accounts fabricated), correspond- 
ence, photographs, &c., are not described accurately or are not placed in 
their proper position in the record, endless confusion will perhaps result 
and certainly great loss of time. The best descriptions of objects are 
good for nothing if they cannot be referred to at need. It may appear 
almost incredible, but we have heard the statement, " According to the 
photograph, this is certainly the man," and yet no one knows what 
photograph has been shown to the witness. Or again the witness on 
being brought into the presence of A & B says ''It is the taller of the two 
that committed the crime," but no one who has not the pleasure of 
knowing A & B can say which is the taller. Again on reading the letters 
dated 1, 8, 5, 10, Jan., the witness affirms, "of these letters only those 
in the good handwriting were written by me," and whoever has the task 
of getting up the case is forced to pick out the letters indicated by exam- 
ining the handwriting. The perpetration of inaccuracies is not only a 
mark of disrespect towards those who may afterwards have to go through 
your work, but it is far from conscientious, for grave confusion and error 
may result therefrom. 

In certain cases it is necessary for a tabular statement to be drawn 
up. This is specially recommended wherever there are several charges 
against the accused, or where several accused are involved. This table 
will miss its aim if only drawn up when the work is over or if it con- 
tains merely a few inadequate headings. The Investigating Officer must 
not forget that his table has a double aim : it ought to facilitate the work 
of anyone who has to go through the record subsequently to the Inves- 
tigating Officer, and it ought also to enable the Investigating Officer 
himself to take in at a glance the case as a whole, give him a lead as 
to whether his work is complete, and enable him to revise it if necessary. 
But to attain this end the Investigating Officer ought at the outset to 
draw up a table divided into a greater or less number of headings. This 
he fills in as the work advances and opens headings corresponding to all 
the important points of the inquiry. These headings ought not in any 
particular case to refer only to the questions, " Who ? Why ? Where ? 
When? How? With What? "but ought also to indicate the accomplices, 
the circumstances for and against, the different criminal characteristics, 
a confession or offer of damages, and other important circumstances. If 



these headings are filled in as the case goes on, the Investigating Officer 
in the course of or at the end of the enquiry has but to cast his eye 
over the table to know if all is complete or if there is yet some point to 
clear up. To judge of the care and accuracy of an Investigating Officer 
it often suffices to see how he has drawn up a tabular statement. 

Of very great importance are the so-called plans or tables on which 
the result of the enquiry is shown in a graphic way, so that the connec- 
tion of the most important incidents can be gathered by a single glance 
at the plan. For this purpose it is by all means necessary that the chief 
and important points of the enquiry must be selected and only these 
ought to be put down on the plan, because putting down anything un- 
important is not only a loss of time and trouble, but also irritates the 
reader, as then he must give wrong values to some portions of the table. 
The possibility of using such plans happens very often and especially 
when the enquiry deals with the movements of a person or a thing ; this 
occurs for example if an accused committed several crimes at several 
places or if he had important meetings at several places. Also, if an 
object has passed from hand to hand, if at a big affray many injuries 
(especially to several persons) have been inflicted, finally if a connected 
proof against one man has to be constructed out of many rather trifling 
incidents which only by being linked up show their real value. For 
example; A arrives at X on the 16th January, he meets B on the 1 7th 
January, sells his coat on 18th January, he asks for work from the person 
C on the 19th January, he buys a black hat on 20th January, etc. 

In the department for samples of criminalistic work in the criminal 
museum at Gratz there is a sheet of paper (reproduced on the next page) 
which shows a complete although rather difficult enquiry. In a certain 
rather large district many false 50 florin notes appeared. The inquiry 
had the result of showing that these notes were traced back to one man 
who again had received them from several people in Italy, where (near 
Adine) a big gang of forgers was detected, the members of which circulated 
these notes. The result of the enquiry has been reproduced by the In- 
vestigating Officer on paper so that the whole is reduced to the simplest 
fashion. From below upwards: — all the people are marked down as they 
received the bank notes till they joined in the hand of one man (Saglio), 
from whom again upwards can be traced the origin of the notes. 


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Section i. — General Considerations. 


The object of the examination or interrogatory is to inform the 
Investigating Officer of the occurrence and all its details, as if he had 
been present in person. If the witnesses examined have actually been 
present, they should tell v^hat they have seen or heard in such a manner 
that the Investigating Officer may imagine that he himself has seen or 
heard. If the witnesses only give indirect circumstantial testimony, the 
facts they speak to as being connecting links should produce on the 
Investigating Officer the same effect as if he himself had witnessed them. 
If the person suspected confesses, his testimony will practically have 
the same weight as that of an accomplice ; if he denies, his statements 
will complete the information obtained in other quarters. * 

Finally, the testimony of the expert enables the Investigating Officer 
to view the whole case, not alone with his own eyes, but with the assist- 
ance of the expert's knowledge. In short the result of the testimony 
recorded should be such as to enable the Investigating Officer to under- 
stand the case, as if he had himself been present and in possession of the j 
necessary knowledge. If this result is attained, the inquiry is at an end. 
If not, of two things, one ; either it was in reality impossible to collect 
sufficient proof, or, if it was possible, the Investigating Officer could not 
find it. In the latter event, either the inquiry is incomplete, — in which 
case the gaps may at some future time be filled up ; or it has failed, and 
the mistake cannot be set right. In the former case the Investigating 
Officer has been baulked by fate, in the second he has bungled. An 
Investigating Officer may be said to do well in proportion as he is able 
to reduce the number of inquiries in which the necessary basis of proof 
cannot be secured. Further, to form an opinion as to the ability of an 
Investigating Officer, it is necessary to see whom and hoio he interro- 
gates ; for witnesses are so to speak the skeleton of an inquiry, their 
evidence being the flesh and blood ; if, among the persons necessary to 
be questioned, some have been omitted, the skeleton is incomplete and 

* The rules of procedure and evidence as to confessions in India are strict ; but the prac- 
tical result, when a confession is in evidence, is as stated above ; and in both cases, the courts, 
as a rule of practice, require corroborative testimony. 6'fc Section iii post. 


unstable ; if all have been examined but their testimony is defective, 
there is indeed a body, but it is lifeless or at least weak and good for 

The Investigating Officer frequently decides in a very easy manner 
the question as to whether any specific person should be examined as a 
witness or as an expert in any matter ; he has before him the complaint 
or the police occurrence reports, in which certain persons are named as 
able to furnish information ; they are summoned and interrogated ; they 
and the accused introduce the names of other persons, who are examined 
in turn, and who may introduce perhaps a third lot of names. This 
process goes on until no one is mentioned or at least no one not yet 
examined. The Investigating Officer will then perhaps find it necessary 
to examine experts ; all these statements are collected together to form 
the record, and the inquiry may be considered at an end. The whole 
business has gone forward easily and naturally ; one conclusion has led 
step by step to the next ; every person whose name has been mentioned 
has been heard ; the whole is complete ; there is no gap in the inquiry. 
All this is true, in a certain sense ; naturally an Investigating Officer 
who has worked in this way, cannot be charged with laziness or neg- 
ligence. But he can be reproached with having simply turned the 
handle and played the tune on a barrel-organ, of having been the 
sport of events like a morsel of wood carried along by the stream, of 
having followed all the formulae without directing or conducting to its 
close the inquiry. Let the Investigating Officer who is insensible to such 
reproach, go on in his old way ; that is his affair : but he who has sworn 
to do his duty and to do his very best, should face the matter otherwise 
and look upon it, above all, as a systematic whole. He must always keep 
clearly before him the fact that in the natural development of things 
nothing happens per saltum, by tits and starts, nothing comes about 
which is inexplicable, isolated, incoherent : every result follows naturally 
on its cause, every fact can be explained, is one among many united 
facts, has a plain story to tell. Humanity had a beginning, it has been 
fashioned, without interruption, without gaps, not by chance but by 
design. The same may be said of every thing springing from man, his 
language, his actions, his will, and his capacity, his efforts and the 
results he obtains, all is a living organism developing gradually and 
naturally, — an organism put together with the greatest care, and in 
which everything that exists in any specified place has its reason for 
being there and must of necessity be found there. So is it with all human 




actions ; not one of them happens by pure chance unconnected with other 
happenings, none are incapable of explanation ; they are fruits which 
must of necessity develop under the influence of nature and individual 
culture, fruits whose formation is explained by the organism producing 
them. They are attached to the individual, as the leaf is attached to 
the tree on which it has grown ; they emanate from the individual as 
naturally and as surely as the fruit emanates from the tree. We do not 
look to gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles. 

If the Investigating Officer is penetrated with this idea, then, in regard 
to every crime in which he is interested, he will remember this ; that the 
people mixed up in the affair are necessarily and naturally connected 
with it, whether their role be active or passive, whether they be com- ^ 
plainants or accused or only outsiders. Just as a scientific naturalist, 
examining an organism which he has not before seen, or which belongs 
to periods of creation long ago disappeared, can recognise with what 
other organisms it was born, lived, and disappeared ; so the Investigating 
Officer from mere scrutiny of the deed, can say what sort of people have 
been mixed up in it, what sort of people have been round about. Not 
chance meetings nor the readiness of the persons first questioned, should 
guide the Investigating Officer ; but the systematic re-building up of the 
case, the clear and first conception of its natural development. Of course 
he will interrogate those who have seen how the criminal set to work ; 
that will form part of the first statement of facts. But how did the 
affair start, why did it happen in this particular way, what were the 
motive and the final object, what obstacles were there, how were they 
surlnounted, what were the antecedent facts, and how connected with 
the catastrophe? All that has to be built up, and to answer such 
questions the Investigating Officer must not trust to the windfalls of 
chance and the cordiality of the witnesses. And then what is to be done 
if no one has seen anything, if there be no witness to the deed itself, 
and consequently no connecting thread? Here comes in the supposed 
art of heaping testimony on testimony, of making the necessity for one 
witness spring from the testimony of another ; and if the Investigating 
Officer have recourse to this plan, summoning the persons first seen in the 
vicinity or who have heard any rumour, and then interrogating all the 
mortals named by them, he will be almost always led astray and found 
wandering from the goal. The Investigating Officer must in such a case 
reconstruct the occurrence, build up by hard labour a theory fitted in 
and co-ordinated like a living organism ; and just as on seeing the fruit 


he will recognise the tree and tlie country of its growth, so from the 
scrutiny of the deed he can presume how it has been brought about, 
what have been the motives, and what kind of persons have been em- 
ployed in it ; the secondary characters in the picture will find themselves. 

How can one acquire the necessary precision of glance and how 
form the picture in any particular case ? No precise rules can, indeed, 
be laid down on this point ; but certain it is that even in the most 
difficult case, if one conjure up in the mind's eye, quietly, prudently, 
and thoughtfully, the way in which events have occurred, one w^ill always 
arrive at a safe conclusion as to the circle or class in which persons who 
know something will be found ; it is for the police to get a hold of their 
names. These persons will be examined as witnesses, but whenever an 
advance has been made one must begin anew, making fresh deductions 
and rectifying previous conclusions, so as to hit upon new circles where 
persons likely to furnish information can be found. But an Investigat- 
ing Officer must never and under no circumstances allow himself to 
follow the paths along which he is pushed, be it designedly or accidentally, 
by the various witnesses. Apart from the fact that the reconstitution of 
the crime for oneself is the only effective method, it is the only interesting 
one, the only one that stimulates the inquirer and keeps him awake at 
his work. 

The procedure to be followed in interrogating parties is prescribed 
by law, and these rules will of course be followed. But that is not all. 
The legislator cannot in a few words lay down how an Investigating 
Officer must proceed to get into his interrogatory what must be largely 
supplied by experience and capacity. Much of these are required ; zeal 
and readiness are also essential ; but the possession of instinct is indis- 
pensible — the Investigating Officer is indeed born not made — and the 
development by assiduous study of knowledge of men ; while often a 
perspicuous mind, clear and penetrating, will alone effect the desired 
solution. The tact — that faculty which nothing can replace — to light 
instinctively upon the best way to set to work, is a natural gift. Who- 
soever does not possess it will never make an Investigating Officer, though 
he be endowed a hundredfold with all the other necessary qualities ; with 
the best intentions in the world, he will stumble against everything 
without discovering anything ; he will intimidate the witness who wishes 
to give him important intelligence ; he will excite the babbler to babble 
still more ; he will encourage the impudent, confuse the timid, and let 
the right moment slip past. Whoso has tact can instinctively distinguish 



what is purely individual from what is general ; whoso is devoid of tact 
never can. Now an Investigating Officer who cannot do this is not fit 
to question a witness, for every man differs essentially from his neigh- 
bours ; every man has a presence of his own, sees, hears, and feels 
differently from others, relates what he has perceived in his own way ; 
yet men are all the same and individual differences disappear and are 
swallowed up in broad common outlines. The groundwork is always 
the same, the form alone differs. We see the differences clearly, if we 
stick only to the form ; but on examining the groundwork we find things 
identical and invariable. Fortunate is he who can distinguish the 
merely formal from the fundamental. The advice that can be given 
under this head is intended more particularly to direct the attention of 
the Investigating Officer to special circumstances likely to give rise to 
difficulties and mistakes. What is here supplied is extracted from the 
larger work of the author on " Criminal Psychology " ^^^\ 

Section II. — Examination of Witnesses. 

There is but little real difference between the testimony of witnesses 
and the statements of suspected or accused persons. But they are arrived 
at by different routes ; in the case of witnesses the truth should be di- 
rectly deducible from their depositions, in the case of the accused it can 
be inferred only indirectly from the manner in which he endeavours to 
justify himself taken along with information gathered from other quarters. 
Therein lies the essential difference and not in any external formalities. 
But this difference is so important that it will be well to treat the two 
classes separately and confine ourselves in this section to witnesses alone. 

In the examination of witnesses the principal task of the Investigat- 
ing Officer is twofold ; he must watch carefully that all the important 
points of the case are taken up and dealt with, none being omitted ; and 
he must further make sure that the witnesses speak the truth, the plain 
truth, the whole truth. We have already shown how to ensure the 
former end ; to obtain the truth from his witnesses the Investigating 
Officer has still to contend with two classes of difficulties ; on the one 
hand the witness may have the best intentions of telling the plain and 
entire truth, but it is absolutely impossible for him so to do. He has 
observed badly or has badly comprehended what he has observed. On 
the other hand the witness may have the deliberate intention of lying. 
The method to follow and the precautions to adopt, differ in the two 


cases. The difficulties in the former case are greater and harder to 
overcome than those in the latter. 

A. When the witness desires to speak the truth. 

Let us place ourselves at a perfectly general point of view. We note 
at once that in daily life in connection with the most ordinary occur- 
rences, different persons perceive them differently and describe them 
differently. Many matters of this kind can be cleared up by making 
all the witnesses give faithful accounts of the events in which each has 
taken part, or which have occurred in the presence of several persons. 
It is a small matter whether the fact be important or insignificant, for 
frequently witnesses who have to depose to the most important circum- 
stances in a sensational case, do not imagine at the time that something 
apparently so insignificant will one day be of first importance. Take 
any occurrence in which you yourself have taken part along with others, 
and make these others describe it, one by one and separately ; you will 
be stupefied to find how differently the occurrence will be reported by 
each, without the slightest hesitation or uncertainty on the part of any 
of them. To profit by such an experiment, you must at the time of 
observing the occurrence intend to make the experiment subsequently ; 
and consequently must have yourself followed the course of events with 
scrupulous accuracy ; so as to be able later on to decide which of the 
witnesses are the better observers. It is not sufficient to attend to the 
mere words of the recital ; you must note the greater or less assurance 
with which each tells his tale, and endeavour to discover the cause of 
the inaccuracies of each : false perception, temperament, age, social posi- 
tion, interest in the matter, these considerations and a crowd of others 
influence the narrative ; and when after a series of observations you have 
noted how certain classes of people (people of sanguine temper an:tent, 
children, professional men, etc.) commit the same inaccuracies in their 
observations and statements, you will be driven to believe, when a real 
case arises, that the inaccuracies of a witness belonging to one of the 
categories already observed and registered are produced in the same way. 
We shall now discuss the fundamental principles underlying the 
deposition of a witness — his power of perception and his memory ; 
and shall then treat of certain fipecial points connected with inaccurate 

8 ' . ' 

58 examination op witnesses 

1. Fundamental Considerations. 
(a) Perceptio7i^^'^~^^\ 

If we wish to ascertain the facts in accordance with the depositions of 
the witnesses we shall constantly insist that each witness shall tell ns 
absolutely only what he has seen or what he has heard, and leave to ns 
the work of drawing conclusions. But the great error is frequently com- 
mitted of accepting the story of what has been seen or heard as if the 
witness himself excluded all reasoning, all induction : that is to say, to 
consider as accurate what he has told us from the moment that we are 
convinced that the witness wishes to speak the truth. Now if we believe 
that the account given of the sense-perceptions of the witness excludes all 
reasoning there is no motive for seeking this " ratio concludendi ", certainly 
more important than the " ratio sciendi ", a matter with which every 
jurist must occupy himself. But in the record of almost all the percep- 
tions of sense there is found not only a reasoning but a series of 
reasonings. A simple example will show this. When for instance I say 
" There is a glass ", I would appear to report a very simple sense- 
perception. But let us look at it a little closer. To express myself 
exactly I should have to say something like this : " As I have never 
known myself to be the victim of hallucinations ; as I have not been, so 
far as I know, in bad health ; as further I have no reason to suppose 
that any one has been trying to deceive me by an optical illusion by 
means of mirrors or some physical trick ; as besides I have no ground for 
surmising that there is upon the table a picture so artistic as to make a 
painted glass appear a real glass ; as finally I cannot imagine that the 
people of this house have their table glass of rock crystal ; I feel entitled 
to state that what I saw on the table was an ordinary glass." 

Of course it is not suggested that one should go so far and give such 
a complete series of reasoning every time that a deposition is taken down ; 
every one knows what is intended by the words " I have seen a glass." 
But every one ought to know also that such an affirmation contains 
reasoning, and reasoning the correctness of which must be frequently 
examined. If consequently an Investigating Officer of very minute 
accuracy has taken down — " I saw a man walking some distance off, 
the man had a long smock and looked like a woman," — the insinuation 
thus inserted that the man might have been disguised, is surely ridi- 
culous; but if on the other hand the witness had said ''I saw a woman," 
one could still very well admit that the person in question was a man, 


the witness having judged the sex of the person only from external 
appearance. What is necessary is not to stick down on the record the 
whole chain of reasoning, but to bear constantly in mind that the depo- 
sitions suppose such reasonings and that, in such reasoning, mistakes 
and even important mistakes may be committed. Let us put on one 
side for the present morbid phenomena and consider only what happens 
daily when our senses and spirits are in a perfectly normal state^^^\ We 
have only to think of the way in which our senses perceive a thing and 
the manner in which we come to present it to ourselves, to be convinced 
that we very seldom in examining an object take note of all the details 
which characterise it and which really cause us to have such and such 
an idea of it. The best example is offered by figures which we call 
" figures of harmony," and which, having typical forms, that is to say, 
forms corresponding to known types, render superfluous the accurate 
analysis of their different parts. When we read, we do not spell out 
every letter, we seize at the first glance the whole word ; we only take 
to spelling if we come across a word in a foreign language or with a 
novel grouping of syllables ; hence it comes that we constantly fail to 
notice small printer's errors, especially if the words are rather long and 
if the mistake does not modify essentially the appearance of the word. 
In the same way a clever pianist seizes only the general look of the 
notes, especially chords, without examining each in particular. But it 
is especially at cards or dominoes that this can be best observed ; the 
player does not count the pips on the cards one by one but seeing before 
him the group, he says, " It is a seven or a nine." If these images did 
not conform to a known type, if the pips were arranged in different ways 
or in a perfectly arbitrary manner, the player would be obliged to count 
every time, at least for the high cards. 

Something analogous occurs in all perceptions and more frequently 
than we ordinarily suppose : what enables us to seize more easily the 
aspect of a whole is that we seek and store up in our memory certain 
chai'acteristic features from which we can immediately spot the object. 
When in a room I see a clock-face, I am convinced that there is a clock 
there, even if I have not seen it very clearly and even if the look of the 
clock-face and the objects around it give but a vague idea of the clock ; 
later on I shall perhaps recall exactly what the clock was like. If in 
crossing a room for the first time I see with a side glance and indistinctly 
in a corner something glittering in white, I will say "there is a stove" ; 
because I have seen the characteristic signs of a stove and have not seen 



a stove in any of the other three corners of the room. If I see flying in 
the fields a big bird with a very long tail, I at once say " there goes a 
pheasant " ; and if in a menagerie I can see only indistinctly a big beast 
with a long trunk, I am sure it is an elephant. It is not always as easy 
as this to draw conclusions from characteristic signs ; the nature and the 
education of the person drawing the conclusion makes such estimates 
very different and of varying degrees of correctness. The specialist for 
example knows very well the true characteristic feature of objects enter- 
ing into his speciality and will not be deceived even if he has seen but 
one of these featm'es. The medical man knows for instance that there is 
a consumptive or a strong smoker in his consulting room, if he hears 
the one coughing or the other walking about. But it is not the same in 
all cases and curiously enough it is particularly the objects of ordinary 
life of whose characteristic features we are completely ignorant. AVe 
may here learn much from scene painters in theatres who with a few 
telling dabs of colour conjure up before us the most beautiful images. 
Their process consists for example in laying hold of what appears dis- 
tinctive in a basket of roses, and although these essentials consist only of 
a few spots of colour they make us really see a beautiful basket of roses, 
the light, the distance, and the imagination of course helping. It would 
be of the greatest importance for us if the scene painter could tell us the 
precise rules according to which he works, if for example he could tell 
us how he represents upon the canvass just the most brilliant lights, the 
deepest shadows, and the most striking colours. But up till now scene 
painters have not found any such rules ; they work in a purely empirical 
manner, which is proved by the fact that they cannot correct any mis- 
takes. If their basket of roses does not produce the intended impression 
they never try to touch it up, for that would be always useless ; they 
just make another one. We may conclude from this that every person 
does not recognise an object by the same distinguishing features ; if the 
painting representing a basket of roses were placed alone upon the scene 
probably one part of the public would think it very well painted while 
the other would wonder what in the world it was. But on the evening 
of the representation, when all the necessary decorations are on the 
scene, the whole public will find the basket of roses very good indeed. 
The reason of this fact is that in certain circumstances the senses can 
be " prepared." In the present case we will admit then that the painter 
has been able to give in a typical way for one part of the public the 
characteristic features of a basket of roses, for the other those of an 


old castle, for another those of a wood, and for the rest those of the 
background. But it is sufficient if one part of the scenery be exactly 
represented, for the sense of sight is already prepared to be captured and 
so disposed to find the whole of the scenery correct ; the idea created 
that one object is well represented extends and applies itself to other 
objects by a sort of induction ; thus the person who thinks the painter 
has rendered the old castle excellently well, will at once find that the 
basket of roses, the wood, and the background are equally well re- 
presented. This psychological phenomenon is very clearly shown in 
panoramas, which have recently become so numerous ; the principle trick 
of these panoramas consists in putting in the foreground real objects 
(stones, trunks of trees, wheels, etc.) which become to all appearance 
parts of the picture. The eye of the spectator is attracted by these 
real objects, is convinced of their materiality, and immediately transfers 
this impression to the portion that is only paint and canvass, so success- 
fully that the whole spectacle appears real. 

These phenomena of the inductive faculty are of first importance for 
the expert in criminology. Frequently in our daily work we come across 
analogous impressions of the same class as just described, perhaps less 
sharply accentuated, a circumstance which renders such an image or 
eidolon all the more dangerous, because the illusion more readily escapes 
attention. It must not be forgotten that a witness, at the moment of 
being an actual spectator of the occurrence, or at the time of reporting it, 
is frequently in a state of agitation and over-excitement which leads him 
to glide easily from one conclusion to another. Once these inductions are 
in full swing, it is difficult to say where they will stop ; and if this is the 
case with impressions arising under normal conditions, the reality is 
enormously accentuated when certain things have strongly struck the 
sensations and especially that of sight. Let us then consider further the 
problem (^f that mobile picture which we have just been describing. 
Discarding the theory of Georg Hirt, according to which this mobility or 
plasticity of vision is due to the fact that the retina is always exposed 
to rays of light of varying length, let us stick to the older and undoubt- 
edly correct theories, which make the phenomenon simply a matter of 
experience. As soon as we mention experience, the question of true or 
false inferences comes to the front. 

This kind of vision is nothing but an inference or induction. We 
conclude that what appears to stand out in solid relief, does really so 
stand out ; because we have proved a thousand times by actual touch, 


that objects bearing exactly the same appearance are material and solid. 
But we push our conclusions still further, and by the same visual illusion 
accept as real not only bodies of which we have seen the like a thousand 
times, but those which we come across for the first time. We have 
never seen a living whale, but if we came across one in the Artie Seas, 
we should never for a moment doubt that it was a real whale. This, 
however, is only an inference based upon similarity ; on our hypothesis, it 
would be absurd to suppose that the whale was painted on canvass ; but 
in numberless cases, the conclusion will by no means be so certain, and 
frequently the spectator, on more or less good grounds, draws a false 
inference based on appearances, without the slightest suspicion of the 
reality of what he believes himself to have seen. This can be easily seen 
in most optical illusions. Perhaps the most striking is that of the 
intaglio : a head of sufficient size is expertly graven on a precious stone ; 
to a spectator about a yard away such a head stands out in relief like a 
cameo ; the only difference is in the lighting effect, the spectator being 
unable to appreciate the minute variations in length of the rays of light, 
according as they strike the concave head hollowed out of the stone or 
the convexity of a relief. Yet to the expert, the light is a perfect test, 
for in the cameo the surfaces turned towards the luminous centre are 
lighted up, while in the intaglio the same surfaces being reversed, are in 
shade. If then a man has before him an intaglio illuminated by rays of 
light coming from the left, he can at the same instant see it as a cameOj 
the sole condition being that he should wish so to see it. For that it 
suffices that, consciously or unconsciously, he should imagine the rays of 
light coming from the right, for the aspect under which the head appears; 
to stand out in relief is explained only by thinking of a cameo. Now we 
constantly act in this fashion, we see or believe we see a whole series o^ 
things starting from certain data. If the first idea is right, we see right; 
if our exemplar starts with the idea that the light comes from the left, 
he will not be deceived over the intaglio, but if he starts with the erro-, 
neous impression that it comes from the right, immediately tlie cameo 
starts up before his eyes. 

It is all the more necessary to take note of errors springing from this 
first false idea or conception, because we are never really aware of its 
presence, or at best forget it at once. In any given case we must with 
the aid of known facts segregate the idea or notion which served as a 
starting point ; we must then by a scrupulous inquiry verify wliether or 
not there is any ground for suspecting a mistake in that idea ; if there 


is, we must then endeavour to find the cause. This has an importance 
of its own, and when we have discovered wherein certain assertions are 
incorrect, we must not rest content with a mere statement of the facts. 
Indeed in most cases we can directly discover only the incorrectness of 
subsidiary statements ; but, in working backwards to the idea which is 
their cause, we can sometimes find by the mere process of reasoning, 
amongst the other important statements, some which can only arise from 
fundamentally incorrect ideas or conceptions. This is all the more 
important because frequently as the result of certain perceptions which 
we believe we possess, we arrive at conclusions which are not in accord- 
ance with our own experience. Take again our example of vision. If 
immediately after sunset we look at a low hill situated in the west, 
objects seen on the summit of this hill produce the effect of simple 
silhouettes or outlines without substance and without relief. Behind 
them the sky is strongly illuminated by the setting sun, and the face of 
the object directed towards the spectator catches so little light that it is 
impossible to distinguish differences of light and shade. Thus although 
we know perfectly well that these objects are solid, we cannot help think- 
ing of them as mere outlines ; and if we have no reason for correcting 
this false appearance we will not do it, we shall simply say we have seen 

Note also that we have not as yet taken into account what may be 
called "illusions of the senses." If it be admitted that almost all sense 
perceptions are based upon inductions, it follows that only those arising 
from a physical cause in the Iwdy itself of the individual ought strictly 
speaking to be called " illusions of the senses." Thus there will be an 
"illusion of sense," if owing to a lateral pressure on the eyeball images 
are seen double, or again if two points of a compass separated a little 
distance be placed on the top of the thigh or on the back or on some other 
part of the human body deficient in nervous tissue. Instead of feeling 
the two sensations of touch the person believes that there is only one. 
Apart from cases of this kind, what is commonly called an " illusion of 
the senses" is in no sense an illusion but only a false induction. If 
on looking through a red glass we see the landscape red, our eye is not 
deceived ; we have only made the mistake of not taking the red glass into 
account. If a little before rain falls, the mountains appear nearer, it is 
not because the eye is deceived but because in calculating the distance we 
have forgotten that air charged with humidity refracts the light. In the 
same way if a stick is held slanting in the water, refraction makes the 





portion submerged in the water appear to be raised up, so as to form an 
obtuse angle with the other portion. There is no error of the senses, 
for if the stick be photographed it will appear in the photograph also 
broken in an obtuse angle. There will be no mistake unless we believe 
that the stick is really broken ; if we do so, it is only an error of reasoning 
owing to having forgotten that the refraction of light is not the same in 
water as in air. There are a great many similar cases : it is only necessary 
to mention the numerous phenomena of radiation of light, phenomena 
in which light surfaces appear larger than dark ones on account of their 
greater power of radiation. Thus a black rectangle between two wiiite 
surfaces appears narrower than a white rectangle of the same size be- 
tween two black surfaces. People clothed in black appear thinner than 
when they are dressed in white or light materials. A line with divisions 
appears shorter than a continuous line. A square divided by a diagonal 
appears broader than high, while a square divided by a vertical appears 
higher than it is broad. Clothes of uniform colour appear greater than 
they really are, especially if they have longitudinal lines, while clothes of 
different colours or with transverse lines appear smaller ; lines which go 
in a parallel direction, such as railway tracks, avenues, Szc, appear to con- 
verge, and vertical lines cut across by short oblique parallel lines always 
appear to diverge from the vertical in the direction opposite to that of the 
cutting lines. But in all these cases our senses are not in error ; only i 
we do not take into account the optical laws which come into play and 
consequently accept the appearance for the reality. Yet all these illusions 
and a crowd of others may exercise a decisive influence on the depositions I 
of witnesses and the grossest mistakes may slip into the inquiry if we 
simply accept a deposition without looking for the deductions of which 
it is the result. And here we have not only to deal with simple cases 
as, e.g., where a person clothed in white and seen by night is depicted by f 
the witness as a very tall man, when in fact he was only a boy. False < 
conclusions of this sort may be the starting point of a whole series of 
facts falsely conceived, because from one sense-perception falsely inter- 
preted may hang a whole series of mistakes, both in the idea which 
we have of things and in the way in which we report them. It is not 
always so easy to establish the cause of error, i.e., how the perception has; 
been led astray ; an explanation by a technical term such as refraction, 
radiation, etc., is not always enough; we have often to do with very com- 
plicated psychical phenomena. We know, e.g., that if objects appear 
unexpectedly at night, especially on a dark and misty night, they are 


seen prodigiously enlarged. This phenomenon is a fairly complicated 
one : suppose that on a foggy or misty night I see unexpectedly a horse 
whose outline appears very indistinct on account of the mist. I know 
from experience that objects which appear to have indefinite outlines are 
usually at a great distance ; I know further that very distant objects 
appear smaller than they really are, so when this horse which I fancy to 
be very far away seems to have ordinary dimensions, I can only suppose 
that its real proportions are enormous. The train of ideas is then as 
follows : — I do not see it distinctly, therefore it is very far away ; but in 
spite of the distance it retains its natural size, therefore if I were to see 
it close at hand it would be immense. 

It is self evident that a person does not reason in this way, slowly 
and step by step ; his conclusions are produced with the rapidity of 
lightning and without reflection, and he arrives direct at the conclusion 
without stopping at the intermediate stages ; it is therefore frequently 
very difficult to discover the train of ideas and how the mistake has been 
committed. If the man who has seen, finds in past events an inexplicable 
gap, the affair will appear to him strange and mysterious simply because 
he cannot explain it ; and this is how arises that tendency towards the 
mysterious which often plays such a great game in the depositions of 
witnesses. Thus if we see, of course in disagreeable circumstances, a 
horse galloping without hearing the sound of his hoof s ; if we see the 
trees swaying without perceiving any wind ; or if we meet on a fine 
moonlight night a man, apparently without a shadow, every such thing 
will appear mysterious and disquieting because there is something want- 
ing which ought logically to be there. We know also what a state of 
mind a man gets into when he believes he has seen something mysterious. 
When a person has become thus unsettled not a single one of his sense 
perceptions can inspire confidence ; we must even suspect the truth of 
what he professes to have seen or heard before he became the victim of 
terror. We must also remember that very few people are willing to 
admit that they have been in a funk — perhaps they don't even know it 
themselves. It therefore becomes all the more necessary to throw light 
upon the subsequent inferences made by the witness, because that is the 
only way of finding out the unsettled state of mind in which he has been 
and which may be the cause of serious mistakes. 

An important source of error arises from the way in which observa- 
tions are joined together or split up. This frequently happens in observing 
h moving objects : we know well the many blunders to which we are 
L ■ 



exposed when it is a matter of deciding which body is moving : often we 
do not know whether it is the railway carriage in which we are that is 
moving or whether it is the carriage upon the parallel line of rails. Again 
from the top of a bridge, if we look for a long time at the running water, 
at last it appears to us that the bridge is moving up stream. 

The cause of these phenomena is, that we are incapable of appre- 
ciating anything else beyond the displacement of one object relatively 
to another. But it is a different matter when we wish to split up a 
movement into its component parts. How often do we come across 
facts like the following. The witness is incapable of saying whether the 
accused has thrown the glass of beer at his victim's head or whether he 
has struck him with it, and often enough one set of witnesses say one 
thing and one set the other. It by no means necessarily follows that one 
set of the witnesses has lied^^'^\ provided we take into consideration the 
relative slowness of perception, if we may use such an expression, i.e., 
that a certain time is necessary for a visual impression to be fixed on the 
retina. In our example the witnesses have seen the glass raised and they 
have seen it fall on the head of the victim but all the intermediate facts 
have escaped them ; they followed each other too sw^iftly for each to make 
its own separate impression. This gap is filled up with the help of 
inductions, and the way in which each witness fills it up depends on his 
individuality or the humour in which he happens to be at the moment ; 
generally the witness sticks to the idea which he formed at the beginning 
of the incident : seeing the accused raise the glass one witness says to 
himself " He is going to strike him" ; another says "He is going to throw 
it at him" ; and when the complainant has got the glass on his head, each 
witness has filled up in his own way what liad escaped his observation 
and imagines he has seen the action in the way in which he expected it 
would happen^^\ 

This fact of the relative slowness of vision is of the very first import- 
ance and the best method of enlightening ourselvess on this subject is 
with the aid of instantaneous photographs. We all know e.g., that when 
we look at the instantaneous photograph of a horse at full gallop, we say 
we have never seen a horse look like that before. The cause is that the 
photograph has fixed the motion during a period too short for our sight 
to be able to retain it. Thus we seize with the eye, without recognising 
the fact, a whole series of images succeeding each other rapidly, and we 
unite these instantaneous images into a single image which has never 
really existed as such. 



This image has never had a being ; we look for it in vain in the 
instantaneous photograph, which cannot show our visual picture, the 
lattter being a combination of several instantaneous positions. In prac- 
tice the phenomenon is produced in the following manner : — Suppose 
an action, very quickly executed and composed of certain positions a, 
b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, k, I, m, positions which, on account of their very 
rapidity, cannot be perceived separately and distinctively by the human 
eye. Each observer then will group together a certain number of these 
positions to form a group-image, but the images thus formed will be 
very different ; because, on the one hand, the moment at which the 
different observers begin to group the images may by chance not be 
the same for all ; and on the other hand, because a man who observes 
quickly requires only a small number of positions to form his group- 
image, while a man who observes slowly requires a larger number. In 
the first case the group-images formed by the positions indicated above 
will be grouped thus ; for the first observer : a h c — cl e f — g h l — 
k I m ; for the second observer, who began to observe very soon after the 
first, the group-images will be thus arranged : b c d — e f g — h i k. 

In the second case, that is, where the power of observation is more or 
less rapid, the man who observes quickly and requires two positions only 
to obtain a mental picture will have his group-images thus : a b — c d — 
e f — g h — i k — I m ; while the other, who requires three positions, will 
have them thus : a b c — d e f — g h i — k I m. These group-images thus 
diversified by their composition may have still greater differences. Let 
us suppose that one or more momentary positions, for example, a, d, g, k, 
have escaped for some reason being noticed by one or other of the 
observers or that they have produced upon him only a vague impression. 
The constituent elements of the group-images will then naturally be 
quite different, and different witnesses will report the same fact in a 
different manner, although they all observed it equally well. 

In practice it is of course impossible to find the difference between the 
diverse group-images formed with the aid of the same instantaneous 
images ; the scientific theory of their formation has been explained here 
only with the object of showing how positive facts may be observed in 
absolutely different fashions. 

Of equal importance, but less capable of analysis, are acoustical 
illusions or mistakes of hearing. They are undoubtedly more frequent 
amongst sick persons than optical illusions, but of these we shall not here 
treat. Let us only say in passing that the Investigating Officer should 


satisfy himself even more minutely than for optical illusions, whether 
there is any question of acoustical illusion due to morbid conditions of 
the body, if so, anything further must be left to the physician. We can 
here only consider mistakes which may be committed by persons in good 
health or who, although supposed to be in good health, are temporarily 
in a state different from the normal. We refer in particular to people 
who have been greatly terrified or have fancied themselves in danger of 
death ^*'\ This abnormal condition nmst be taken into account, especially 
when questioning people who have been dangerously wounded in a riot, 
robbery with violence, attempted murder, etc. 

Fear, terror, pain, produce all sorts of mistakes on their own account ; 
all the more will they do so when people find themselves in a condition 
practically equivalent to the morbid state. They suffer real hallucina- 
tions and hear words which have never been pronounced. Thus they 
hear voices of people pursuing them and threats which have never been 
uttered ; and at the same time they hear the voices of persons offering 
them assistance, although there is no one in the neighbourhood. 

In this connection there are some remarkable illusions. Sometimes 
certain words long forgotten appear suddenly to strike u[)on the ear. A 
case is reported of a sailor who when on the point of drowning heard 
distinctly before losing consciousness these words pronounced by his 
mother "Johnny! Have you eaten your sister's grapes?." He had 
heard these words in infancy and had never thought of them since. 
In this case nobody could for a moment imagine that these words had 
been really spoken to the drowning sailor. But suppose that a person, 
the victim of a crime and severely wounded, declares that he heard some 
remark or other ; there is perhaps at the moment no sufficient reason for 
doubting the truth of the statement. Further it is necessary to be ex- 
tremely careful not to admit without verification statements of witnesses 
concerning the direction, the distance, or the intensity of the human voice. 
One has only to make certain experiments and examine the hearing 
faculty of a few people to discover the strangest things. The majorit\- 
of people cannot tell you whether a voice comes from above or below, 
from the right or from the left, from before or from behind, from a 
distance or close at hand ; and^ very few people know how defective theii- 
power of observation is in such matters. The reason often is found in 
the circumstance that one cannot readily bring oneself into touch with 
the locality, e. g., the street of a town, hills in the country, etc. 

Further, every one does not possess the gift of hearing sounds 




distinctly and the majority of people understand what they hear not 
from the exact words themselves but from the general tenor of the 
phrase. There would be nothing serious in that, if everybody picked up 
the true meaning; but people give what they beheve to be the true 
meaning, so that we are compelled to take into account their manner 
of comprehension and in consequence endeavour to reconcile an infinite 
diversity. If instead of one witness we have several who tell us what 
they have heard, we can at least compare their different statements 
and correct one by the other ; but if we have only a single witness, we 
often commit the mistake of accepting his deposition as absolutely cor- 
rect, simply because it is not contradicted by that of another witness. 

Thus even in ordinary circumstances we must be cautious and ac- 
cept only with reserve what a witness pretends to have heard. All the 
more must it be so if there are special difficulties in the way, — if for 
example the voice comes from a great distance, if it is shrill, muffled, or 
presents any other abnormal peculiarity. The same is true if the person 
whose voice has been heard is of different nationality from the listener, if 
he speaks another dialogue, or is better or less educated. Prudence is 
also necessary if the witness hears the voice unexpectedly or if he does 
not mark the connection between the words he has heard and the action, 
still more if there is any ground for supposing that the witness has been 
mistaken as to this connection. We must remember that hei-e memory 
is not yet in question, we are dealing only with inaccurate perceptions, 
where the witness is giving an incorrect account of what he has seen or 
heard immediately afterwards. Note also that stupid or uneducated 
people not only find it difficult to repeat word by word what they have 
heard, especially when the sentences are of some length, but also they 
constantly distort the sentences when they are compelled to repeat word 
for word. We must therefore be content with getting them to tell us 
the general sense of what they have heard, but we must of course from 
the first instant take care that the witness really knows all about the 
affair, otherwise in reproducing the sense of the words he has heard 
he will certainly twist the meaning according to the idea he has taken. 

Under certain circumstances, something may be due to Phonismus, an 
acoustical sensation caused by light, and Photismiis, an optical sensation 
caused by sound. These sensations are not experienced by everyone, 
but appear to be not infrequent, e.g., the strange noise heard by many 
people at the rising of the Aurora Borealis. Such results are probably 
due to strong association of ideas. 





There is not much to be said about mistakes of the other senses, their 
place being of secondary importance. Everyone knows that the sense ' 
of touch gives rise to many mistakes ; such mistakes are of great import- 
ance for the criminal lawyer when it is a question of wounds. We know 
for instance that wounds made by a dagger or a bullet give only the 
impression of a shock ; and that insignificant contusions cause extreme 
pain, while we hardly feel a mortal wound. People who have in the 
course of a riot received a number of slight wounds and one severe one, 
are generally incapable of telling when they received the severe wound. 
Further such wounded persons cannot as a rule state exactly how they 
received the blows. In short the statements of wounded people, where 
the sense of touch is involved, must be received with great caution^^^l 

Another fact frequently overlooked must be taken into consideration ; 
it is that the different parts of our body fulfil their functions normally 
only when they are in ordinary positions. If for example we take up a pea 
between the thumb and the first finger, we feel only one pea although 
the tactile impression has been conveyed by two fingers ; but if we cross 
the third finger over the fourth and place the pea between the extremity 
of these two, we feel it doubled, as if there were two peas, because the 
fingers are not in their natural positions and thus transmit to the brain 
a double tactile impression. 4| 

In other words the double sensation is the true sensation, but when 
the fingers are in their ordinary position, experience comes into play and 
we feel only one pea. As an another example, if one joins the hands 
crossways and turns them inside and raises them up so that the fingers 
of the right hand are still on the right and those of the left still on the 
left, the faculty of localising the finger is absolutely lost ; and if any one 
tells you, without touching it, to raise one of the fingers, say the third of 
the right hand, you will be certain to raise the corresponding finger of 
the other hand. We also know that the sense of touch is one of the 
least developed. If not exercised as it is in the case of a blind man, it 
requires the help of other senses and especially that of sight. Thus j 
perceptions of touch alone are always less certain than others because 
they depend upon a small number of very rough signs. The same 
phenomena may be perceived in a social game much played by children. 
In this game they pass from hand to hand underneath the table per- 
fectly harmless objects, as a piece of dough, a potatoe, a kid glove wetted 
and full of sand, etc. If one take into his hand without seeing it one of 
these objects, he thinks he is touching some hideous monster and throws 


away. By the sense of touch he has had only the sensation of cold, 
wet, movement, that is the common characteristic of the idea of a reptile. 
The imagination completes the sensation and the idea of a reptile is 
transmitted to the brain. 

To these defective sensations, due to touch alone, must be added a 
species of transmissibility of tactile impressions. If for example ants are 
running about near where one is seated, one immediately feels the sens- 
ation of ants running about under one's clothes ; and when one sees 
or hears the description of a wound, one frequently feels pain in the 
corresponding part of one's own body. It may be taken for granted that, 
with witnesses of an impressionable nature, this tendency may be the 
cause of serious mistakes. 

This want of independance, so to speak, of the sensation of touch, is 
intensified by the fact that all sensations are relative, and most markedly 
in this case. We feel a cellar to be hot in winter and cold in summer, • 
because we perceive only the difference between its temperature and that 
of the outside atmosphere ; and if, after having plunged one hand in cold 
I water and the other in hot water, we place both in tepid water, the 
former will have the sensation of heat and the latter of cold. We have 
frequently in magisterial reports, to deal with tactile sensations; we must 
be always careful to take into account their lack of certitude. 

Certain strange phenomena may here be alluded, to the raison d'etre 
of which is to be found in the irregular structure of the human body, e.g. 
I walking in a circle instead of straight. This phenomenon is especially 
noticeable when walking in a fog in an unfamiliar locality, or in the forest 
at night time, and particularly if the person be to some extent out of his 
senses, as sick, frightened, intoxicated, stunned, or weak from loss of 
blood. It appears very strange that sometimes a murderer or robber 
instead of running straight away walks in a circle round the place of the 
deed, a fact which may be proved by footprints or witnesses. Nobody 
now-a-days would assert that a person who has been running round in a 
circle in this way is for that reason alone incapable of telling the truth. 

As to taste and smell, they are frequently perverted by illness ; and 
9ven a man in good health finds it difficult to say if his senses of taste 
ind smell are normal, for it is impossible to submit them to any standard 
of comparison. 

The parts played by these two senses in our life is less important 
:'han those of sight and hearing. We can readily ask a person if he sees 
well or hears well, and even test his ability ; but it would be useless to 




ask him if he can taste or smell properly and with normal accm-acy, for 
we have no means of testing the correctness of his reply. Besides 
extraordinary changes take place in these senses. If for example in 
judging of food by its look alone, we conclude that we have before us a 
dish of sweets when in reality it is a plate of salted viands, we shall on 
tasting have the sensation of neither, but only a horrible taste in the 
mouth. The savour of the sweets is mixed with that of the salted 
provision, just as if we had really mixed up the two meats on the plate, if 

It must be particularly noted that in the case of smell, the sens- 
ations of pleasant and unpleasant are most diverse. One person delights 
in the smell of rotten apples, another in that of a wet bath sponge ; what 
one calls the horrible smell of carrion, another hails as a delicious gamey 
odour. Some women consider assafcetida to be the best perfume ; most 
people would say the smell was stinking. The odour of garlic, it is uni- 
versally known, is very diversely appreciated ; and many people cannot 
endure such common perfumes as musk and patchouli. 

Thus when it is a question of determining the correctness of a smell- j 
perception, great care is necessary, and all the more because the sensi- 
bility of the organ varies so much with individuals. Some people can 
smell a cat in a room, others can recognise persons by the mere odour of 
the clothes they are wearing, while others are unaffected by the strongest 
stenches. At the same time, the sense of smell is of an extraordinary 
persistence. An odour, scented but once, is recognised ten years after- j 
wards ; it raises up before our eyes with the greatest fidelity all the 
objects perceived at the same time. This fact may occasionally be of 
importance in testing the recollection of witnesses. 

(b) Memori/^\ 


The second faculty to be taken into account in the psychical life 
of a person under examination is his memory. Memory is a thing so 
marvellous and so complex, manifesting its activity in so many diverse 
ways, that the Investigating Officer can never study it enough. All the 
facts of a case must in the end be established by the truthfulness and 
accuracy of the memories of the witnesses. 

According to ForeI^^\ the province or function of memory is three- 
fold ; 

(1) The fact observed must produce an impression; 

(2) That impression must be recalled ; 


(3) The impression must be recognised as identical with the fact 

"I saw yesterdav," he says, "a white bear for the first time in my 
Hfe, and to-day I think thus, (1) the white bear yesterday made an im- 
pression on me ; (2) I have to-day reproduced w^ithin me the image of 
the white bear ; and (8) I am assured of the identity of the image seen 
yesterday with that reproduced to-day." This example really tells us 
everything that is to be said as to the activity of the brain in the case of 
memory, and all we have got to do is to show how it works out in parti- 
cular cases. We have already dealt with accuracy of perception, upon 
which naturally the other operations, and especially that of reproduction, 

The second stage then is the reproduction of the impression. Its 
accuracy depends on the degree of precision with which what has been 
perceived, w^hether well or ill, re-appears, and the mode in which the 
inevitable gaps are filled up. One may fill up these gaps accurately by 
comparison with the whole picture, or inaccurately by fanciful imagin- 
ings. Sometimes they are never filled up at all. ^^^ 

It is only sometime after this second operation that we begin to 
establish the identity of the perception with its reproduction ; by ex- 
amining if the two correspond and to what extent the greater or less 
certainty of a statement depends on the success of this examination. To 
return to Forel's example ; the accuracy of the first stage will depend on 
the precision and care with which one has looked at the white bear. The 
second stage, that of reproduction, gives its picture, more or less imperfect. 
For instance the image of the white bear may be very accurately repro- 
duced, but the observer has not noticed whether it had a tail or not. If 
the conclusion drawn from the whole look of the bear is accurate, this 
gap will also be accurately filled up, but if the observer gives reins to his 
imagination, he may confer upon the animal an appendage which it has 
no right to possess. But if neither analogy nor imagination come into 
play, the gap is not filled up, and the witness does not remember what 
sort of a tail the beast had or whether it had a tail at all. 

After the reproduction comes the establishment of identity between 
the two pictures and here accuracy depends on the greater or less strin- 
gency of our examination. 

The Investigating Officer must, in every important affair, carefully 
distinguish between these three operations of the mind, whenever he has 






reason to suspect that the memory of a witness is not trustworth3^ " 
If he searches at random in the hope of finding the weak spot, he will 
certainly fail ; but will almost certainly succeed if he examines separately 
the three stages enumerated. Thus he will first question the witness as 
to how long the perception lasted, the way in which it was produced, 
the circumstances accompanying it ; he will thus, leaving aside all ques- 
tions of accuracy, discover the ''solidity" of the perception. Next he 
will ask how the reproduction was made and particularly how the gaps 
were filled up ; and lastly he will devote his attention to the way 
in which the identity between the perception and reproduction was 
established ; it is almost always during this last examination that the 
mistake is found. Do not say that this procedure will take up too 
much time ; in every case less time is lost in establishing, even with the 
greatest trouble, the accuracy of our facts, than in allowing a mistake 
to slip in and in consequence futilely examining a cloud of witnesses. f 

We must distinguish between the conscious and the unconscious 
activity of the memory. G. H. Lewes shows by a physical example the 
unconscious activity of the memory. If a key be placed on a sheet of white 
paper exposed to the sun, and afterwards the key be removed and the 
sheet of paper placed in the shade, the image or rather the shadow of 
the key will re-appear before the eyes on looking at the sheet of paper, 
even after a considerable time. There are even memories that influence 
us and make us, without knowing why, act in one way or another. 
Forel says : " If, while absorbed in a philosophical problem, I avoid a 
pail of water, I have unconsciously in going round it made a whole train 
of thoughts." This remark is of great importance in the present con- 
nection. Indeed we are able on many occasions to explain a person's 
actions by this theory of unconscious memory. Yet how frequently 
do we fail to take account of this factor, sometimes through forgetful- 
ness, sometimes through ignorance, sometimes through sheer stupidity. 
Further it appears to us most improbable that a man could perform 
unconsciously actions which we could perform only after mature con- 
sideration. We must therefore know a person's nature, for then only 
can we judge whether we have in fact to deal with a question of un- 
conscious memory, and if so, to what extent. We may take it, in a 
general way, that the unconscious memory is the most trustworthy, 
because it is based on a long line of experience. 

Another point of great importance in dealing with the recollections- 
of other persons, is to find the connecting link between the different 



remembrances. We all know how we, so to say, help our memory. One 
associates different reminiscences with each other, one fact remembered 
lurnishes data which lead directly to the recollection of other facts^^'' * ^\ 
For example, suppose one desires to know when he has bought a certain 
object, being perfectly unable to call to mind the purchase. But he re- 
members that on the day of the purchase he carried the parcel in his 
hands until his fingers were cold : hence the season was winter. Then 
he remembers that he put it in the inside left-hand pocket of his over- 
coat ; therefore it must have been last year, because in the preceding year 
his overcoat had no pocket on the left-hand side : then he remembers 
that on arriving home he found his friend X there ; therefore it was 
a Wednesday, because X came only on that day of the week. X ad- 
mired his new overcoat, therefore it had just been purchased. Then 
he finds from the tailor's bill that this overcoat was sent home early in 
November, and thus, keeping in mind that the day of the week was 
Wednesday, the exact date of purchase can be fixed. 

We are constantly forming such trains of association : but stupid 
people do not do so readily ; and to obtain from them accurate informa- 
tion it is not enough to give them time to think and reflect ; they must 
be helped, and upon the skill with which they are helped will depend the 
accuracy and precision of the information obtained from them. 

. Naturally we take into account the physical surroundings and social 
position of the witness. We refresh the memory of a countryman by 
talking to him of interesting agricultural happenings : we wake up an old 
woman by recalling to her mind religious festivals ; we remind the loafer 
or cockney of some scandal running round the town at the time. But even 
when we have not to do with such typical characters, the best method 
still is to get into conversation with people and thus try to arrive at more 
assured information. Here once more practice makes perfect. We may 
get splendid successes, but none the less must ever be on our guard 
against risky combinations. If the question of time be of importance, it 
is a good practice to place on the record the whole series of images 
registered on the tablets of the memory.. Thus the ascertainment of 
the exact time is put in a conditional form — for example, "If it be true 
that the event A happened contemporaneously with the event B, and if 
the event B took place close to C, and if the witness D was at that 
moment at C, then the event A also took place close to C" — and any one 
[can say for himself whether this conclusion is accurate or not, by 

scrutinising the intermediate steps. 



A method of great importance in assisting the memory is to replace 
the witness in the same surroundings. This is a common phenomenon 
in our daily life. Sitting in my study, I think of certain business I have 
to transact in a certain direction when I walk abroad. When I get into 
the street I have completely forgotten all about it, and all my efforts to 
stir up my memory are useless. But if I return to my study and seat 
myself as before, I shall recollect every thing. Here is the undoubted 
explanation ; I again unconsciously experience all my former sense im- 
pressions, the same aspect of my writing table, the same tick-tack of the 
clock, the same soft and easy chair ; and what I was thinking of then 
returns spontaneously. As Professor Grashey says : " there is a very 
remarkable law : impressions which act simultaneously on the cerebral 
envelope are linked or, so to say, associated with each other." 

Such linked ideas are most important : we know that certain sense- 
impressions, as the sound of bells, certain effects of light, and — most 
persistent of all — odours or smells, have the faculty of evoking in our 
minds memories long since forgotten. Such observations are as inter- 
esting as important. Keminiscences which have wholly disappeared from 
our minds are thus reconstituted, slowly and with difficulty, by the aid of 
such sense-impressions. 

But what use can we make in practice of this well-known fact. The 
answer is that the best way to make a witness remember with accuracy 
and detail a certain occurrence, is to place him in exactly the same 
circumstances as when he first made his observations. But it is not 
enough simply to take him to the place ; we must reproduce the 
surroundings as they were at the moment of observation. We should 
select if possible the same hour and the same season ; and , without 
attempting a purely theatrical display, remember that the more accurate 
is the " reconstitution, " the more useful it will be. We specially 
recommend this procedure in complicated transactions, when, for ex- 
ample, the order of events is important, or when there are several 
actors in the drama and the part played by each has to be determined. 

We are often powerless, relying on memory alone, to recall the different 
scenes of an occurrence ; but find no difficulty if we place ourselves on 
the spot and among the surroundings which we occupied at the time. 

Following this course we often obtain the most astonishing results : 
people who in the Magistrate's chambers will remember nothing, change 
completely when they find themselves on the spot ; they recall first the 
accessory details and subsequently some most important fact. Of coursy 



we must not expect that the witness, when taken to the spot, will be 
seized with a sudden inspiration. Give him time to collect his thoughts 
and find his bearings ; talk to him about the scenery and matters of no 
importance ; bring up casually the missing links in the story, or the 
portions he has already remembered ; and thence you can lead him on by 
degrees to recollect all he has seen. But here there is a danger, and a 
great danger, to be shunned ; nothing must be suggested to the witness 
80 as to lead him to testify to matters of which he is ignorant. The 
danger will be less, if, without giving him special information, the witness 
be interrogated by simple questions to which he can reply by a plain 
"Yes" or "No." Nor must we ever forget that memory itself has its 
illusions : we frequently imagine that we have formerly seen something 
which in reality we have never seen. It is a well known fact that this 
is no proof of mental aberration ; it happens to men in a perfectly 
normal condition of mind when suffering from mental or physical fatigue. 
Such mistakes happen most frequently in connection with localities ; 
how often has one the feeling, " I have been in this place before," 
knowing well that he never has been. Such hallucinations are easily 
produced in emotional witnesses and may lead to most dangerous 

Such errors (Paramnesie) may be explained in various ways. Leibnitz 
(Perceptiones Insensihles) was one of the first to study these questions 
1 and was followed by Dugas, J. J. Van Biervliet, J. Soury, A. Lalande, 
Bourdon, Anjel, W. Sander, Jensen, Langwiser, Wiedemeister, Huppert, 
Krapelin, Wigan, Maudsley, Neuhoff, etc., and every modern hand- 
book of psychology. This literature shows that the phenomenon is 
of frequent occurrence and for that reason it is important in criminal 
investigations. Dickens even introduces it in David Copperfield. One 
explanation has been given as follows : — the brain works in two parts 
and when the subject is not in a perfect state of health one of these 
sometimes receives an impression the fraction of a second before the other. 
This first impression gives one, at the time of receiving the second impres- 
sion, the idea that he has been somewhere, or seen something at some 
former time, though his memory immediately corrects him and his 

reasoning power proves the. absurdity and impossibility of his imagining. 
We believe that the majority of people are ashamed to mention having 
experienced this mental illusion ; for we have very seldom heard the 
subject opened, though when asked whether they have ever experienced 
it, people frequently reply in the affirmative. 



The phrase of Bibot, despite its paradoxical air, is most true and im- 
portant to be borne in mind ; *' Forgetfulness is but a special state or 
condition of the memory." What he means is that a man can retain in 
his memory only a certain number of things ; if the memory is too full 
of insignificant details, important matters cannot find room and are re- 
membered only after the others are forgotten. We apply this rule b\ 
recalling to the memory of the witness the minimum of details of 
secondary importance ; otherwise no room would be left for the important 
fact. The difficulty is to know how to select from minor details just 
those which will serve as stepping stones and foundations for those of 
serious import. 

2. Special Consideeations, WH: 

(a) Strong Feeling as a cause of inaccuracg of observation. 

If men perceive the most insignificant facts in the most diverse 
manner, even when it is impossible that these facts should produce on 
the observer any emotion preventing him from observing with absolute 
calm; how much more will their impressions be diversified under cir- 
cumstances calculated to produce in the onlookers excitement, fear, or 
terror. The fact is that in a such a state they are absolutely incapable 
of observing accurately. Examples are innumerable ; we may cite one of 
historical interest relating to the execution of Mary Stuart, Queen of 
Scots. When, between 1830 and 1840, the coffin was opened, it was 
discovered that the Queen had at her execution received two strokes of 
the axe, one of which had only slashed the nape, while the second had 
separated the head from the trunk. Now we possess a series of accounts 
of this execution, dating from the period itself, and all distinguished by 
abundance and exactitude of details, but not one of these accounts 
mentions the first blow which merely injured the nape of the neck. 
Yet judging from the careful way in which these accounts have been 
recorded, this detail would certainly have been reported had it been 
noticed by any of the spectators ; but all were evidently in such a state 
of agitation that not even one of them observed the false blow, and would 
all if questioned in a court of law have probably sworn that only one 
blow was dealt. 

Kecently the author had the opportunity of verifying this by an 
analogous circumstance. He was present at an execution at which for 
some reason or other the executioner wore gloves. After the execution 
he asked four officials who were present what was the colour of the 


executioner's gloves. Three replied, respectively, black, gray, white ; 
while the fourth stoutly maintained that the executioner wore no gloves 
at all. Yet all four were in close proximity to the scaffold ; each replied 
without hesitation, and all four are still perfectly confident that they 
made no mistake. 

Again a man of reserved and calm temperament, an old soldier, 
reported the day after a railway accident which he had witnessed, that 
there were at least one hundred dead, that he had himself on extricating 
himself from the smashed carriage seen many human heads, cut off by 
the wheels of the vehicles, rolling along the track. As a matter of fact, 
one man was killed and five persons wounded : all the rest was due to 
the imagination of a man ordinarily most composed but at the moment 
suffering under strong excitement due to fear. Another railway ac- 
cident furnishes an example of what a man in a state of terror can see 
and hear. A brewer, a veritable Hercules, in the prime of life and in no 
way nervous, having jumped from the smashed carriage, took to running 
across the fields to the neighbouring town, three-quarters of an hour's 
distance, in the full belief that he saw and heard the locomotive of the 
train puffing and blowing after him. This man, the prey to his imagi- 
nation, had run so hard that he caught an inflammation of the chest, from 
which he died some months afterwards. The fact that he thus ran with 
such excess of vigour, proves conclusively that in his imagination he had 
really seen and heard the pursuing locomotive. 

Sometime ago it was related in the papers that in a prison in 
Norway a famous criminal named Gudor had escaped, during his walk- 
ing exercise, by suddenly attacking his warder. The latter, seeing a long 
knife glittering in the hand of Gudor, fled. Gudor fled also. On being 
recaptured, it was found as the result of a minute inquiry that he had 
brandished a bloater in the air, and this bloater the poor man in his 
terror mistook for a long knife. 

It is interesting to note that in the murder of President Carnot by 
the Italian Caserio not a single person saw the blow struck though the 
murderer had jumped upon the foot-rest of the carriage, pushed aside 
Carnot's arm, and thrust the dagger into his abdomen. In the carriage 
three gentlemen were seated, two grooms were standing behind, mounted 
officers were accompanying on either side, and yet no one saw the Pre- 
sident stabbed and the murderer would have easily escaped if he had 
refrained from calling out in a loud voice while running away : — " Vive 
V anarchic.'' 





Each one of us has probably made sin^ilar observations^**^ on our- 
selves or our friends, but we often fail, in the practice of our profession, 
to appreciate their value. In the cases just described it is easy to 
discover the cause of the error. If several persons have observed the same 
fact at the same time and one alone amongst them has seen something 
extraordinary, there is a good ground for suspicion as to what he pretends 
to have seen. But how frequently does it not happen that there is only 
one witness who, through excitement, observes incorrectly, without the 
circumstances being such as to betray the falsity of his impression. 
How many times is an Investigating Officer compelled to draw from 
such an " observation," due entirely to the imagination, conclusions of 
the gravest nature. We cannot, indeed, often demonstrate in criminal 
matters that such observations are false, but we may safely conclude that 
they often are so. 

How can the mistakes which may spring from this faulty observation 
on the part of witnesses, we avoided ? The only thing is to check every 
deposition inconsistent with the others and presenting the slightest trace 
of improbability. We must never go to sleep, lulling ourselves to repose 
with the thought, " In spite of everything, this is how it must have hap- 
pened, however unlikely the story may be, for the witness — so absolutely 
worthy of confidence — must be telling the truth." In such a fix only one 
course can be followed; we must "reconstitute" the whole affair in all 
its details, taking no account whatever of the statement of the exceptional 
witness. If before introducing this deposition it was easy to build up 
the case, while afterwards inconsistencies and improbabilities spring up, 
the statement of the witness must be accepted with extreme caution ; 
and that all the more, if it is the only thing which inculpates the accused. 

If the statement of the witness appears improbable and if at the 
time of the occurrence he was in a state of excitement, his story must 
be criticised with the most minute and scrupulous care. If the impro- 
bability of the statement is glaring, there is no difficulty, because we 
are at once put upon our guard. The danger arises when the observa- 
tion of the witness has been at fault, when he tells in perfect good faith 
a most likely story, and thus creates great confusion. A long investiga- 
tion ensues and only at the end of it, if at all, is the mistake discovered. 
Fortunately this rarely happens except when a witness is in an unusually 
excited state ; when he is perfectly collected he rarely hears or sees what 
is absolutely non-existent. It is therefore always safe to commence by 
being incredulous of a single uncorroborated statement and taking steps 


to ascertain the condition of the witness at the time. If he has suffered 
from excitement, we must further enquire as to its duration, whether 
momentary or whether producing a permanent effect. 
W The author himself has been witness of a fact which had nothing 
to do with criminal matters, but was of the greatest importance in 
preventing a too ready credulity. A young peasant whom the author 
had known from his infancy and believed to be absolutely incapable of 
lying, had for the first time in his life visited a large town and gave 
a most animated description of all the wonders he had seen. What had 
impressed him most was a menagerie of wild beasts ; he spoke of all the 
beasts, described their appearance, told how they had been fed, and how 
the trainer had managed them ; at last, said he, there came a gigantic 
serpent which rushed on the lion to devour him ; suddenly naked savages 
jumped up who fought with and killed both the lion and the serpent. 
The explanation was simple ; the scene described was represented on a 
huge picture hung at the entrance to the tent to attract the public as is 
usual with travelling menageries. But the peasant had seen that day 
so many new and marvellous things, that the scene had appeared to him 
perfectly real, and when relating it the picture became reality, so that 
he reported in perfect good faith what the picture represented just as 
if it had really taken place. How many times has it not happened in 
criminal cases that we have been led astray in a similar manner^^^) 

Here is an analogous case, a peasant, a man of intelligence, retired 
from active work, told the author one day when on business in the Law 
Courts, that the medical expert had cured him of deafness in the most 
remarkable manner. The doctor had, he said, looked into the interior of 
his ear and with much difficulty extracted bit by bit a large beetle, whose 
several parts were collected on a piece of paper and shown to him ; the 
body, head, and legs were all there, and the deafness had disappeared. A 
little while after the medical man was asked how he had brought about 
this marvellous cure, and explained that he had only withdrawn from the 
peasant's ear an obstruction of wax. The peasant had been much run 
down and worried by his deafness and very frightened at the operation. 
The joy of being cured had so played upon his emotions that this 
creature of his imagination is quite explicable. He was certainly not 
lying but really the victim of a false perception. 

In a criminal case, where an incident as related is not absolutely 
unbelievable, no one would have doubted in the least the veracity of a 
man of excellent reputation who had no reason to tell a lie. 



(b) Inaccurate observations folloivmg wounds on the head. 

Great prudence must be observed in examining witnesses who have 
received wounds on the head. It frequently happens, and for that 
reason is of primary importance, that the wounded person is the principal 
and at times even the only witness^^\ Care is all the more necessary 
in that the doctor himself is never able to say with certainty whether or 
not the wound has had any influence upon the mental condition of the 
patient. The question of the nervous ''centres" is far from being 
definitely solved. 

Speaking generally we may say with Forel^^^ ; The seat of memory 
for visual images is in the occipital lobe of the brain, for auditory images 
in the temporal lobe, for co-ordination of movements between the vertex 
and the frontal lobe. 

The books which treat of this subject furnish numerous examples of 
intellectual disorders due to wounds in the head. Holland relates in his 
" Mental Pathology, " that one day he completely forgot the German 
language, owing to great fatigue. Abercrombie, the surgeon, one day 
injured his head by a fall from his horse ; there being no medical man 
at hand, he dressed and bandaged the wound himself, in a perfectly 
professional manner ; but he had absolutely forgotten that he had a wife j 
and children. Carpenter tells of a child, who having fallen on his head 
remained unconscious for three days. On regaining consciousness he had 
forgotten every thing he knew before except music. The author will cite 
several criminal cases and others within his own experience, which go to 
show what care must be exercised in recording the depositions of persons 
who have been wounded in the head. 

The first of these deals with a peasant, who, on his way to a fair, had 
been set upon, severely wounded, and robbed of his money, intended for 
the purchase of a cow. When interrogated the next day this man was 
perfectly conscious ; he related his story with the most minute accuracy, 
and his account was in absolute accord with the results of the enquiry. 
But he affirmed obstinately and regardless of all objections, that the pur- 
chased cow had been stolen and not the money destined for the purpose. 
It was pressed upon him that he was going to the ' fair and that the 
robbery took place the evening before the fair ; that people had seen 
him 15 minutes before the attack and he had no cow with him then, 
etc. ; he would reflect a moment and always make the same reply ; " That 
does not matter ; the cow was stolen, I do not know what she was like 



nor how much she cost, but I had a cow. " In this case the inaccuracy 
of the statement could be easily proved, but what would have happened 
had the consequences been different and the Investigating Officer set off 
on the quest for the unlawful possessor of a cow that had never been 
stolen ? 

A miller's man had received in a riot a blow on the head from a stick, 
so violent that his skull was fractured and he remained for a long time 
in an unconscious state. Questioned two days afterwards he stated with 
perfect confidence that the man who struck him was very tall and had a 
long black beard. Fortunately among all the persons mixed up in the 
affair there was none that in the slightest degree answered this descrip- 
tion ; besides several witnesses affirmed that the culprit was a short 
young man with a fair moustache. If there had been no eye-witnesses, 
and if a man answering the description given had been mixed up in the 
affair, he would certainly have been arrested on the strength of the 
clearness and certitude of the statement made by the w^ounded man. The 
latter, it may be remarked in passing, had no motive for shielding the 
guilty man, as they were perfect strangers. On his restoration to health, 
he was again questioned, when he described the same person as the other 
witnesses, but explained that it appeared to him, stretched in a semi- 
conscious state on his bed, that a tall man with a long black beard was 
tiying to drag him from the bed. 

The next is a case which, though not a criminal matter, is most instruc- 
tive on more than one ground. It concerns a friend of the author's, a 
man absolutely trustworthy. This gentleman, Mr. S., visited one day 
with several friends the estate of his uncle. To get there, they had to 
cross a chain of mountains and profited by the opportunity to do a little 
chamois hunting. In descending, Mr. S. fell from the top of a rocky 
wall and received severe injuries, — a broken leg and fractured skull — so 
that he was carried in an unconscious state to the house of his uncle 
where he remained a whole week in the same condition. What is most 
remarkable is that Mr. S. has not the least recollection, not only of 
his fall, but of every thing that happened during the hour and a half 
preceding it. He remembers the smallest details, of the start, of the 
ascent, of the talk he and his friends had on the way, &c., up to the 
moment when, just before reaching the summit, he pointed to the others 
a tree which recalled certain memories of the chase. From that moment 
all recollection vanished, although they had spoken of several important 
matters. On reaching the summit they breakfasted, drinking only spring 




water, and spoke of getting up a liunting party ; later on when S. 
advanced along the rocky wall, his friends cried out to him to be careful, 
and at that moment he fell so unfortunately. But S. is ignorant of all 
that ; the fall has entirely effaced every recollection of what passed 
during the hour and a half. On waking up after the seven days during 
which his loss of consciousness lasted, his memory reverted directly to 
the talk about the tree mentioned above. 

Suppose that a similar thing had happened to a criminal seriously 
wounded during the commission of an offence ; he would aftirm that he 
knew nothing at all of what had passed during the hour and a half 
preceding the moment of his wound. Who would believe him? and, if 
he were a witness, who would credit him straight off? People would 
simply say it was impossible, and he would be pressed with questions — 
cross-examined in short — until he began to recount all sorts of things, 
which might very well have happened but of which in reality he knows 

Another remarkable feature of this case is that Mr. S. although un- 
conscious made several quite sensible utterances. On leaving home his 
mother had entrusted him with a message for the uncle he was about to 
visit. Now when he was carried unconscious to his uncle's house and 
the latter in alarm called out his name, S. delivered his message accu- 
rately and clearly, although it was rather complicated, and immediately 
relapsed into his state of absolute unconsciousness. 

If it had been a criminal matter, absolutely no importance would 
have been attached to the utterances of the injured man ; they would 
have been put down to delirium and allowed to pass unheeded ; further 
if the wounded man were inculpated in the crime, there would have been 
suspicion of his simulating, or at least exaggerating, this unconscious 
state, since otherwise he could not have suddenly recovered consciousness 
so as to speak for an instant in a reasonable manner. 

We learn from this case that in such matters the most unlikely 
things are quite possible, that isolated facts have no value in themselves, 
but must be considered in their connection with each other, and that 
every important notion arising during an inquiry, must be submitted to 
a special investigation before being recorded as an ascertained fact. 

Here is another characteristic case. A high official, Mr. C, was 
returning in a carriage from a round of inspection ; the horses took 
fright ; C. was thrown out of the carriage, seriously wounded on the 
head, and remained lying unconscious on a little-frequented road. 


About half-an-hour later he recovered his senses, went on foot to the 
country house of a friend close at hand, entered the dining room without 
announcing himself to any one, and there remained seated on a sofa. An 
hour afterwards, — this happened in the afternoon — the master of the 
house found him there and C spoke to him quite sensibly. In the course 
of conversation the host noticed that C was under the impression that 
he had been in the house since morning and had breakfasted there. 
When at last the wound on his head was observed, he professed to know 
nothing, neither of his injury, nor of his fall from the carriage, nor of 
any accident whatever, and persisted in his statement that he had been 
there since morning. Not until evening when he was seized with trau- 
matic fever accompanied by delirium did he wholly lose consciousness. 
Here again the same thing would have happened as in the previous case 
had a crime been in question ; no one would have believed an accused 
person, a proved thief, for example, in his pretence of having entered the 
house without knowing how ; and if C had been the victim of an act 
punishable by law, as an attack by a robber, he would probably have 
known no more about it than he did of his fall, and by his statement 
would have led the Investigating Officer completely astray. 

Such cases are by no means rare. An engineer was passing an inn 
accompanied by an old gentleman, when a soldier suddenly rushed out 
and threw^ himself upon him. Some drunken soldiers had been fighting 
in the inn, several of them had been "chucked out", and one of them 
inflicted on the unsuspecting engineer as he passed a blow with a sabre 
in the head which knocked liim down. As the fight went on in the road, 
the old man ran away to obtain assistance from a neighbouring village. 
When he returned to the inn, accompanied by some of the villagers, he 
met the engineer; the latter knew nothing of tjie occurrence and won- 
dered where his companion had got to. He would not allow him to 
speak of the attack or of his wound; and yet the wound was so serious 
that when he came to be examined surgically, the brain itself was found 
to be exposed. 

It may also be remarked that according to Oesterleu, this oblivion of 
incidents happening before a wound also occurs with persons who have 
been struck by lighting and have subsequently recovered. 

The following case is most instructive on several grounds ; it caused 
great excitement, and no wonder, early in the year 1898. On 28th 
March 1893, a murder, having theft for its motive, was committed in 
the house of one M. Brunner, a school-master at Diebkirchen in Lower 




Bavaria. Two children of the school -master had been killed witn Diows 
of a hoe and his wife and the servant had been mortally wounded with 
the same instrument and were found unconscious. The school-master, 
who occupied a room apart from the others, had when first questioned 
shown himself so upset and given such extraordinary answers that he 
was taken to be the guilty person ; nor was this presumption dispelled 
until his wife recovered consciousness and could be questioned. She 
told the Investigating Officer that on awakening from a deep sleep, she 
found the bed all wet ; as day was just breaking she saw that it was 
blood and again became insensible. Besides that, she could tell nothing 
in spite of many questions put to her ; she was absolutely ignorant of 
when, how, and from whom she had received such severe wounds, all 
on the head ; and had even to be told by a third person that she was 
wounded at all. When the record was prepared, she signed without the 
slightest hesitation the name, " Martha Guttenberger," instead of her 
own " Martha Brunner." The Investigating Officer inquired of the 
neighbours if by chance "Guttenberger" were her native name, but 
was told "no". He then inquired if there were any other person of 
that name, and found that a former sweatheart of the nurse was so 
called, and that the school-master had forbidden him to enter the house 
on account of his misconduct. The Investigating Officer jumped at this 
casual indication ; Guttenberger was pursued, arrested at Munich, and 
immediately confessed. 

Thus, and Madam Brunner subsequently confirmed it, the school- 
master's wife had recognised her assailant at the moment when he 
struck her, but slie had forgotten the circumstance owing to the serious 
wounds in her head. But not altogether. The picture of the crime of 
Guttenberger had in reality entered into her consciousness but in the 
second sphere, so that she had only a vague idea that the name Gut- 
tenberger was of primary importance ; and she felt she had sufficiently 
met this demand by declaring his name instead of her own. This 
proves once more that Max Dessoir ^*^^ was right in supposing that 
there are at least two spheres of consciousness ; — the first or higher, 
and the second or lower ; in the latter of which are received always or 
almost always facts of which we take only partial account or which are 
wholly distorted ^86-89) 

But there is yet another point of view from which we must con- 
sider wounds in the head ; that is in the case of criminals long since 
cured. Sander and Bichter^^^ rightly call attention to the fact that even 



in our days medical men are slow to look for such influence ; although 
Delhi'iick^^^\ for example, out of 58 prisoners attacked by mental maladies 
found 21 with old head wounds, and Knechf^\ found 78 similarly marked 
out of 214 criminals examined by him. See also Schlager ^^"^^ 

The FriedricJis Blatter reports a case which inculcates prudence. 
The subject had been guillotined ; a post-mortem examination disclosed 
the existence of grave cranial defects. Radiating scars were found on one 
half of the cranium, which, arrested in its development, was one-third less 
than the other. These scars coming from fractures of the skull had been 
produced by a kick from a horse received at the age of 14, which had 
prevented the natural expansion of the cranial sutures. Gaulke ^^^^ reports 
an identical case. In making a 'post-mortem examination on a man who 
had been imprisoned for strangling his wife, he found that a complete 
hemisphere of the brain was wanting, the space being filled by a hydatid. 
This had been caused by a fall on the head. For other cases see Dr. 
Paul Glider, etc.,^^^ & loo) 

The net result of the foregoing is that it is the bounden duty of the 
Investigating Oflicer to consult a medical expert, on every occasion on 
which he learns that the accused has been wounded on the head. He 
will often be informed of this if he notices on the person interrogated, 
scars on the head, a striking asymmetry of the cranium, etc. 

(c) Differences in the observing poivers, resulting from differences in the 
natural qualities and intellectual culture of the observer. 

In the examination of witnesses the principal difliculty for the Investi- 
gating OfBcer is to appreciate the value of their depositions. If he is 
content with satisfying himself as to whether or not tlie witness be 
trustworthy, and has a character as a well-behaved and moral man, he 
will have followed the usual formulas but will have made no true investi- 
gation. He can truly investigate only, by means of hard work, taking 
into account the differences in the fashion in which the various witnesses 
have observed ; and by then going on to try to establish what these 
differences really are, and how the different groups of persons see things. 
Here he has abundance of materials, he finds them in every enquiry, in 
('.very examination, and if he only knows how^ to use them he must of 
necessity attain positive results of great general value. This has not 
\'ot been generally achieved and the reason is that the psychologists have 
not these observations at their disposal, while the jurists who possess 




them, have abandoned the work of inference and deduction to the 
psychologists. Thus each of us has to-day at his disposal only the mate- 
rials which he has himself painfully gathered together ; but the leading 
principles, the general rules, have as yet been propounded by no one. 
However with a stout heart and hard work each of us can localise a 
certain number of starting points which later on will be of great utility. 

The root of the matter is, as we have already indicated, to establish 
this fact ; — that the witnesses, however anxious they may undoubtedly be 
to speak the truth, have told different stories, while if they had observed 
accurately, they should have all given absolutely identical accounts. 
This done, we must endeavour to discover the cause of the difference 
between their statements. Here the Investigating Officer will do well to 
begin by trying to find out whether the fault does not lie with himself 
and his bungling way of setting to work. Let him consider above all 
whether he has not pressed the witnesses too far. No one in the world 
is by nature an exact observer, and if he has not noticed a particular 
detail, all the questions in the world are worthless. Moreover it fre-l^ 
quently happens that a detail, which to-day is of decisive importance, 
could not appear in any way material at the moment when the occur- 
rence was observed. This importance is discovered only afterwards, and 
the Investigating Officer, who himself knows to-day how important it is, 
is too often powerless to place himself in the situation in which the 
witness found himself at the moment when he witnessed the occurrence, 
which to him then appeared absolutely insignificant. For example, the 
witness has seen a man come out of a house and has looked at him, just 
as we are in the habit of glancing at any passer-by. Later on it turns 
out that this man has committed a crime in the house ; then the 
inquisition of the unfortunate witness begins, and every attempt is made 
to force him to know that of what he is perfectly ignorant, " But you 
have at least seen if — "; "But you must at least know that — "; and so 
on. As a matter of fact, we know no more at the end than at the begin- 
ning, and that is the best thing that can happen ; the worst result is, 
if the witness be harassed into making a false statement. If there are 
many witnesses and their statements differ, of two things one — either 
they have not been examined after the same fashion or, if they have, the 
method was a bad one. 

In the first case, what ordinarily happens is this : we question the 
first witness quietly, and if he does not know much, we do not lose 
patience but console ourselves with the thought that the others will be* 



etter posted up. But as we go on with witness after witness this hope 
dwindles ; then we lose temper and press the witness, with the result it is 
true that he tells a long story, but the accuracy of the statements 
becomes less and less. When then we come to compare the recorded 
depositions, it is seen that there is no agreement, solely because the 
witnesses have been pressed in different directions. The witnesses have 
observed right enough but the Investigating Officer has examined them 

We do not of course mean to say that an Investigating Officer should 
question in an indifferent and dry manner, for there are many people, 
and especially country people, who at the beginning of an examination 
know ''absolutely nothing"; and what they really do know can be 
extracted only by cross-examination. The witness must be questioned 
with care and accuracy but not driven and compelled to give out what 
he does not know ; these are two very different modes of proceeding. 

But if after having really treated all the witnesses in the same way, 
we still obtain different statements, there must be really a difference in 
the method of the witnesses. But the origin of these differences must 
not always be looked for solely in differences of observational powers, for 
frequently the primary cause is to be found in the office of the Investi- 
gating Officer himself. This is important from a psychological point of 
view when we come to estimate the value of depositions. 

It constantly happens — and this is most true of India — that for one 
reason or another witnesses take it into their head that we want to make 
them responsible for the crime ; it may be that they are afraid of being 
suspected of being themselves the perpetrators, or that they are conscious 
of negligence which may have facilitated the perpetration, or that they 
may be considered as abettors or accessories of the accused, &c. In all 
these cases and in a hundred such, the witnesses will, despite their best 
intention to speak the truth, fashion it the way apparently most useful 
to themselves. They will rely on certain details, they will slur over 
others, they will arrange the various incidents in a new manner, and if 
the Investigating Officer examines attentively all the depositions he 
will recognise the existence of a group of persons deposing inaccurately ; 
the group of frightened people, always imagining themselves suspected 
and constantly shuffling. 

The Magistrate befogs himself and confuses the whole inquiry, if, 
being himself a man of imagination, he has in hand a witness as highly 
endowed with that quality as himself, and knowing something of the 




affair. Often in such a case he allows himself to come to rash conclu- 
sions, which he does not conceal from the witness. The latter, yielding 
to his own inclination, willingly accepts these, and goes on to pad them 
out in his own way. The judge proceeds to build, on the fresh details added 
by the witness, new hypotheses, and thus each in turn giving the other 
a lift up, both are lost in the clouds. In the result, the Magistrate no 
longer knows what the witness has told him, and the witness cannot dis- 
tinguish between what he knew before and what he has picked up from 
the Magistrate ; so that the resulting deposition is for the most part the 
product of the combined imaginations of Magistrate and witness. 

We must not imagine that an honest witness will at all hazard stick 
to the truth. It is difficult to believe how far the imagination of emo- 
tional, though highly intellectual, persons will carry them. Besides, 
in such cases, each of the parties clings to the authority of the other ; 
the Magistrate to that of the witness, who, he thinks, must know all 
about it ; the witness to that of the Magistrate, who is deemed to be 
well versed in the law. Thus each, just as he desires, finds in the 
authority of the other room to give a loose rein to his imagination, and 
both are highly gratified. 

To convince oneself of this fact, one has only to note how easily 
emotional persons can be made to relate occurrences which they have 
never seen or heard, and that without any recourse to suggestion. In 
spite of their earnest desire to stick to the exact truth, on the first 
opportunity they strike off to the right or left, and at last can no longer 
distinguish between what they have really seen and what they have only 
imagined. With such persons the Investigating Officer cannot be too 
careful or reserved, especially if he himself be of an imaginative turn. 

But the plan to be adopted will be just the opposite, with a reserved, 
laconic witness, one who weighs his words and, simply through indiffer- 
ence, says no more than he is obliged to say. We do not for a moment 
suggest that that the witness should be cross-examined or bullied into 
saying what is wanted. No, he must be piloted very differently ; we must 
gently lead him along with us, show him the deep interest we ourselves 
are taking in the matter, and the time we have devoted to it, explain to 
him the importance of his own statements, make him understand how 
important it is that he should tell everything and describe everything in 
exact conformity with truth. Then we see the witness brighten up, little 
by little, when he begins to understand the Magistrate and his business; 
when he has got to that stage, he realizes the importance of careful 


reflection, of remembering, and of communicating everything which i-e- 
turns slowly to his memory. Thus the Investigating Ofhcer may obtain, 
not without difliculty it is true, the most valuable testimony from the 
most indifferent witness. Hence we must always begin by making sure 
of the natural characteristics of the witness beforehand, treating him in 
accordance therewith. 

But it is not enough to take into account the natural disposition and 
characteristics of the witness ; his environment, his idiosyncrasies, his 
opinions, &c., are of just as great importance. Many persons even in the 
gravest emergencies allow themselves to be influenced, more or less, by 
their religious, political, or social standing, by considerations of family, of 
profession, perhaps even of club or society, and that without the slightest 
intention of departing by a hair's breadth from the truth : there are many 
details which they wish neither to see nor to hear, or they see and hear 
them otherwise than the actual happening, so that a witness who would 
naturally be for the prosecution, becomes one for the defence, and vice 

More than once it has happened to the author, in consequence of a 
strange answer given by a witness, to make enquiries as to his personal 
status, and as a result of these enquiries to value his statements very 

Finally the age and the sex of the witness are of importance. Of 
course we cannot fix absolutely the age at which witnesses are more or 
less worthy of credit ; we must in addition and even to a greater extent 
take into account all the other elements which go to make up a man, his 
natural qualities and intellectual culture. But still certain broad rules 
may be laid down as to age. 

In one sense the best witnesses are children of 7 to 10 years of 

age ^^°^\ Love and hatred, ambition and hypocrisy, considerations of 

religion and rank, of social position and fortune, are as yet unknown to 

them ; it is impossible that preconceived opinions, nervous irritation, 

or long experience, should lead them to form erroneous impressions ; the 

mind of the child is but a mirror that reflects accurately and clearly 

what is found before it. These are great advantages, accompanied 

however by certain corresponding drawbacks. The greatest is that we 

cannot place ourselves at the point of view of the child ; it uses indeed 

the same words as we do, but these words convey to it very different 

ideas. Further, the child perceives things differently from grown up 

people. The conceptions of magnitude — great or small, of pace — fast 



or slow, of beauty and ugliness, of distance — near or far, are quite different 
in the child's brain from in ours : still more so when facts are in question. 
Facts to us perfectly indifferent, delight or terrify the child, and what for 
us is magnificent or touching does not affect it in the least. We are 
ignorant of the impression produced on the child's mind. 

There is yet another difficulty ; the horizon of the child being much 
narrower than ours, a large number of our perceptions are outside the 
frame within which alone the child can perceive. We know, within 
certain limits, the extent of this frame ; we should not for instance question 
a child as to how a complicated piece of roguery was committed, or how 
adulterous relations have developed ; we know it is ignorant of such 
things. But in many directions we do not know the exact point where 
its faculty of observation commences or stops. At times we cannot 
explain how it does not understand something or other, while at other 
times we are astonished to see it find its bearings easily among matters 
thought to be well beyond its intelligence. We are as a rule too dis- 
trustful of the capacity of a child. We have rarely found too much 
expected of it, while we have often discovered that it knew and noted 
much more than any one imagined. 

The same experience occurs to us in daily life. How many times do 
not people speak in its presence of things a child is not supposed to 
understand, only to discover later on that it has not only understood very 
well, but has combined the information with other things heard before or 
after. Again it must not be forgotten that a child is peculiarly exposed 
to external influences, whether designed or accidental. Any one, know- 
ing that a child is to appear as a witness in a court of justice, if he is 
interested in its statements and has the chance of influencing it himself, 
will almost certainly exert that influence. The child, as yet devoid of 
principles, places great faith in the words of grown-up people ; so if a 
grown-up person brings influence to bear on it, especially some time after 
the occurrence, the child will imagine it has really seen what it has been 
led to believe. This result is obtained with certainty if the man proceeds 
slowly and by degrees, leading the child to the desired goal by repeated 
simple questions, as, *' Is it not so?" " It was not so, was it not thus?" 
The result is the same, when the influence is undesigned. An im- 
portant event happens ; it is naturally much talked of, all sorts of 
hypotheses are started, there is gossip of what others have seen or might 
in certain circumstances have seen. If a child, which has itself seen 
something of the occurrence, hears these conversations, they become 



deeply engraved on its young mind, and ultimately it believes it has itself 
seen what the others have related^^°^\ 

One must therefore be always careful in questioning children but 
their statements, if judiciously obtained, generally supply material of 
great value. 

In passing from the child to the succeeding age, it becomes necessary 
to distinguish sex ; for just as sex differentiates in external appearance 
the youth from the girl, so are they differentiated in their methods of 

An intelligent boy is undoubtedly the best observer to be found. 
The world begins to take him by storm with its thousand matters of 
interest ; what the school and his daily life furnish cannot satisfy his 
overflowing and generous heart. He lays hold of everything new, strik- 
ing, strange, all his senses are on the stretch to assimilate it as far as 
possible. No one notices a change in the house, no one discovers 
the bird's nest, no one observes anything out of the way in the fields ; 
but nothing of that sort escapes the boy, everything which emerges 
above the monotonous level of daily life gives him a good oppor- 
tunity for exercising his wits, for extending his knowledge, and for 
attracting the attention of his elders, to whom he communicates his 
discoveries. The spirit of the youth not having as yet been led astray 
by the necessities of life, its storms and battles, its factions and quar- 
rels, he can freely abandon himself to everything which appears out 
of the way ; his life has not yet been disturbed by education though 
he often observes more clearly and accurately than any adult. Besides, 
he has already got some principles ; lying is distasteful to him, because he 
thinks it mean ; he is no stranger to the sentiment of self-respect, and 
he never loses an opportunity of being right in what he affirms. Thus 
he is, as a rule, but little influenced by the suggestions of others, and he 
describes objects and occurrences as he has really seen them. We say 
again that an intelligent boy is as a rule the best witness in the world. 

It is a different affair with a young girl of the same age. Her natural 
qualities and her education prevent her acquiring the necessary know- 
ledge and the breadth of view which the boy soon achieves, and these 
are the conditions absolutely indispensible for accurate observation. The 
girl remains longer in the narrow family circle, at her mother's apron 
strings, while the boy is off with his playmates, picking up in the fields 
and the woods all sorts of knowledge of the ordinary aspect of common 
^ings; which is the best training for discovering, distinguishing, and 





observing anything extraordinary or out of the way when it t 
With his father and his playmates the boy learns to know the great sum 
of practical things of which life is composed, and which one must know 
before being able to talk about them. The girl has no training of this 
sort ; she goes out less, she has little to do with workmen, artizans, or 
tradesmen, ,who are in many ways the school-masters of the boy anxious 
to learn; she sees nothing of human life, and when anything extra- 
ordinary happens she is incapable, one might almost suggest, of seizing it 
with her senses, that is to say, of observing accurately. If besides there 
be danger, noise, fear, all which attract the boy and serve to excite his 
curiosity, she gets out of the way in alarm, and either sees nothing or 
sees it indistinctly from a distance. 

A young girl may even in certain circumstances be a dangerous 
witness, when she is interested in the matter or is herself perchance 
the centre. In such a case strong exaggerations and even pure inven- 
tions are to be feared. Natural gifts, imagination, dreaming, romantic 
exaltation, such are the natural degrees by which the girl, too young yet 
to have had any interesting experiences of her own, arrives at last at 
"Byronism." Now Byronism is a sort of ennuie or weariness of life, 
always urging one to seek for change ; and what happier variety could 
there be than a criminal matter in which the little lady finds herself 
mixed up ^^^''\ It is interesting enough in itself to appear in the witness 
box, to make a deposition and to intervene in the destiny of another ; 
but how much more noteworthy is it when an important matter is in 
question, when the attention of everyone is turned upon the witness, 
when all the world is breathless to learn what she has been asked, what 
she has replied, and how the case is going to turn. Thus an insignificant 
theft is easily magnified into a robbery with violence ; the witness, out 
of a miserable swindler, manufactures a pale and interesting young man ; a 
coarse word becomes a blow ; an insignificant event develops into a roman- 
tic abduction ; stupid chaff turns up as a great conspiracy. A young girl 
is also a very dangerous witness at, and often previous to, the period of her 
first menstruation, or as it is called in India " attaining her age." Many 
women remain similarly influenced throughout their whole life, before 
and during each period of menstruation. Climate is frequently a factor 
in causing this aberration. In short, too great care cannot be observed in 
interrogating a young girl, to whatever class of society she belongs ^^^^\ ^ 

But, to be just, we must recognise on the other hand that no one 
notices and knows certain things more cleverly than a young girl. If 


her imagination does not carry her away, she can furnish information 
more valuable than any grown-up person. The reason is the same as 
we have given for her exaggerations and inventions. Her school, her 
life, her daily tasks, do not afford sufficient nourishment for her imag- 
inations and her dreams ; the sexual instinct begins to awaken ; she 
searches around her, almost unconsciously, for incidents touching, how- 
ever remotely, this sphere. No one discovers more rapidly than a 
sprightly young girl approaching maturity the little carryings-on and 
intrigues of her neighbours : the delicacy of her sensibility enables her to 
seize the least shade of sympathy which the pair she is observing have 
for each other ; and long before they have found it out themselves, she 
knows what their true feelings are for each other. She notes accurately 
the birth of the intimacy ; she knows when they spoke for the first time. 
And she anticipates long before what the result will be, reconciliation or 
rupture ; in short she knows everything earlier and better than any one 
else in her circle. 

Connected with this is the trick young girls have of spying on certain 
people. An interesting beauty or a young man acquaintance have no more 
vigilant watcher of all their goings on than their neighbour — a little girl 
of twelve to fourteen. No one knows better than she, who they are, what 
they do, what company they keep, when they go out, and how they dress. 
She even notes the moral traits of those coming under her supervision, — 
their joy, their grief, their disappointments, their hopes, and all their ex- 
periences. If one desires information on such subjects the best witnesses 
are school girls — always supposing that they are willing to tell the truth. 

From youth we pass to adults who though in the flower of their exist- 
ence are far from furnishing the best witnesses. The adult is in general 
the worst of all observers. Finding himself in the happiest epoch of his 
life, full of hope and ideals, interested only in himself and his desires, the 
young man finds nothing important but himself. Childhood is far away : 
middle-aged and old men have long ago ceased to exist for him ; what 
they do is of no importance, the world is the empire of youth, what 
interests it is alone of value ; nothing else is worth troubling about. 

The ideal representative of this age is the young lady to whom the 
disappearance of the world would be a matter of no moment compared 
with the momentous matter of a ball ; or the student to whom his club 
or society is the most serious thing under the sun. All this of course 
changes with time ; but youth with its plenitude of force is the personi- 
^cation of that robust egoism which takes possession of the world and in 



all its diversions sees only itself. Any one who has critically watched 
himself and watched others, knows all this ; whoever has had the oppor- 
tunity of questioning young people about important facts happening in 
their neighbourhood, is at once irritated and delighted at the sublime 
indifference exhibited. 

But if perchance the young man has observed, his deposition will be 
true and trustworthy, he has preserved his good principles, not yet 
scattered by the storms of life. ' 

In middle age man employs all the forces with which he has been 
endowed by nature ; his good and bad qualities alike have reached their 
fullest development ; and what the middle-aged man and w^oman want to 
perceive, they can perceive and describe. Their career, the goal of their 
labours is fixed ; their likes and their dislikes are formed and that 
decisively ; the middle-aged man thus has a clearly defined position in all 
circumstances ; when it is a question of testimony as to justice or injustice 
he advances with a firm and decided step. 

True, this is the case only with the man of sound moral principles. 
For there is no period of life in which man is assailed more violently 
by his passions, malevolence, egoism, self-seeking, discord, than when he 
mounts to the highest plane of his life, when he is the most active but 
also the most unreasonable. These passions never exert their influence 
on him more strongly than at this age ; their omnipotence makes him an 
unconscious liar ; and there is no witness more difficult to tackle, or 
more dangerous, than the man in full possession of all his faculties, both 
good and bad. 

If you ask the difference between the word of a man and that of a 
Woman, we can only reply in the words of the poet, " man has great ideas, 
woman profound sentiments ; for the man, the world is his heart ; for 
the woman, her heart is the world." This explains the vast difference 
between the standpoints of observation of the man and the woman. We 
can even say beforehand how a man and a woman will assimilate a fact 
which they have both seen. And what is interesting and instructive, 
and at the same time right to establish with certainty, is exactly that one 
anticipates what one is going to hear. We are then armed against any- 
thing which may lead us astray or befog us, and moreover we can go 
straight to the point, before an inaccurate and distorted statement has 
been definitely recorded. 

The old man comes last ; he is either sweet and conciliatory, or sour 
and cynical, according to his luck in life. His senses and faculties of 



observation are weakened, but experience tells him by a sort of insight 
what his eyes do not catch, and frequently his opinion may be summed 
up in the words, " To understand, is to forgive." 

In fact, the old man has become a child again ; accurate perception of 
external objects is v/anting but also his passions are dulled. He sees 
simply and without cunning, the difference between the sexes is again 
accentuated, the old man and the old woman see and understand things 
like children, and the suggestions of another in favour of this or that 
regain their power, just as when they w^ere young ^^°^\ 

B. When the witness does not wish to speak the truth. 

Everyone knows that it is impossible to lay down a rule for prevent- 
ing witnesses lying, but that they would lie much less, if Investigating 
Officers would only give themselves more trouble. That is a fact which 
everyone must admit who knows with what rapidity Investigating 
Officers frequently interrogate the most important witnesses. It is true 
they have generally no time to do otherwise. But it is just this rapidity 
which is the cause of the numerous false depositions to be found on our 
records. The only means of remedying this evil, which eats into the 
very vitals of the State and society, is for the Officer to carefully prepare 
his interrogatory, not to be afraid to remind the witness at length that 
he must speak the truth, and to probe him to the bottom, especially if he 
has the slightest suspicion that his statement is false. But to enable the 
Investigating Officer really to manage the affair in his own way in the 
interests of the State, he should have much more time at his disposal 
than he generally has. If this be so, the number of officers should be 
increased. If the Investigating Officer has sufficient time for his work, 
^ood results may be expected and justice will be done under the best 
possible conditions. 

Whoever is acquainted with the progress of an inquiry, knows that 
a minute examination may preserve the Investigating Officer from the 
f^ravest blunders. This is all the more important in India where the 
first inquiry, or as it is in this case technically called '' investigation, " 
is generally made by the police, who cannot put the witnesses on oath, 
and to whom the witnesses dre not (by a change in the law made in Act 
V of 1S98) compelled to speak the truth. True, the "Investigating" 
Police Officer can take the witnesses before a Magistrate (under Sec- 
tion 164, Criminal Procedure Code) to have their statements recorded 





formally and on oath, but by this time the mischief has probably been 
done. The Magistrate may himself, instead of ordering a Police "Investi- 
gation," hold a ''Preliminary Inquiry," (Section 159, Criminal Procedure 
Code), and it is to be regretted that this course is not more frequently 
adopted. When the Magistrate does so inquire, he should lay himself 
out for a thorough and scientific examination of the witnesses. In 
either event, the case is too often presented to the trying or committing 
Magistrate in a state of hopeless confusion^^*°\ 

The importance of a minute interrogatory is clearly shown in the 
case where a complicated plot has been laid to deceive the Investigating 
Officer and the falsity of the depositions must be exposed. 

Take the following case concocted in a very short time and by abso- 
lutely ignorant women. It was a case of affiliation, in which the attempt 
was made -to father a child on a well-to-do but mean peasant. The 
fraud was discovered and the mother of the child, as well as her mother, 
were prosecuted for defamation : both denied it and appealed to the testi- 
mony of a woman, who they asserted could give important evidence in 
their favour. As soon as this woman was summoned she was visited by 
the two accused ; but she could in no way confirm the occurrences to 
which they wished her to speak ; then they tried to get her to promise to 
give false testimony. She would not consent, but in response to their 
urgent entreaties consented for a certain sum to sell them the summons 
and not to appear before the Court. Another woman was readily found 
to appear in the witness box, fortified by the summons of the real 
witness, and agree to corroborate all the statements of the two accused. 
Fortunately the Investigating Officer examined this woman carefully and 
at length, and when he came to speak of matters that the real witness 
must have known, her personatrix got into difficulties, hesitated, and 
could give no satisfactory replies as to certain personal details, &c. 
Thus the Investigating Officer succeeded, not it is true without difficulty, 
in establishing that the person in the box was not the person that should 
have been there. 

This might be thought an isolated instance but the author has come 
across at least two other cases where a substituted witness has appeared 
with the summons of the genuine one. In one case the deception was 
discovered by minute examination ; in the other the witness gave himself 
away at the end of his examination, by signing his deposition in his own 
name. Questioned by the Investigating Officer he was so upset that 
there could be no doubt that he had intended to deceive justice. 


RNow if within a narrow circle one knows no fewer than three cases in 
which this trick has been somewhat cleverly attempted, how frequently 
must it be tried on and how few must there be who can detect it. Often 
too the most detailed and meticulous examination fails to disclose the 
falsity of a cleverly got up statement ; the problem then is, which is the 
craftier, the Investigating Officer or the witness ? But the Investigating 
Officer always holds the best hand of trumps in this contest. The 
Investigating Officer is the calmer of the two, for after all the witness is 
playing a dangerous game and risks his liberty, while the worst that can 
happen to the Investigating Officer is once more to be made a fool of. 
Besides the Investigating Officer knows the whole record of the case ; he 
knows approximately what may be true and what must be false; the 
depositions of the witnesses as the inquiry advances are stories which 
should fit into the whole building ; he can denounce them as false when 
they do not so fit in. Above all the Investigating Officer is in the happy 
position of being able to ask questions, which the witness, unless in very 
exceptional circumstances, cannot do. By questioning, and questioning 
thoroughly, the Investigating Officer always arrives at a point of which the 
witness has not dreamed, and on which he has not consulted his accom- 
plices ; the slightest indication of contradiction betrays to the Investigating 
Officer the weak point of the '* convention " between the witnesses and 
the accused, and he has only to follow up on the same lines to pierce 
the whole tissue of lies. But to arrive at this result he must take full 
advantage of the superiority of his situation, he must question freely 
and record every reply. The growth of these useful materials does not, 
or need not, materially swell the record ; if the Officer has well studied 
the matter, if he knows clearly what he wants and the gaol he has in 
view, if he interrogates only on points of real importance and records 
the replies briefly and concisely, he will have fewer words but more 
matter, and the record will be no longer. This job, of course, is not 
always very pleasant, but the Investigating Officer is not there to amuse 
himself ; and he who is afraid of such worries should not become an 
Investigating Officer. 

As an example, we may take the case where an Investigating Officer 
has to combat a false alibi, ^^^^~^^^^ certainly the most dangerous obstacle 
to the conviction of the real malefactor. Karl Stenier it was, we believe, 
who truly said, "to be a good poacher, three things are indispensable: 
a gun that takes to pieces; a blackened face; and a good alibi.'' That 
is just what happens in countries where poaching is common. In the 



mountains, things almost always happen thus : a wood-cutter goes 
poaching, the keepers surprise but cannot catch him because he has 
got the start of them ; the gun is concealed in a crevice in the rock ; 
and the cattleman and his wife swear that at the very hour when the 
keepers pretend to have seen him, he was in their hut, patching his 
working clothes. Everything is carefully and beautifully arranged before- 
hand, and all goes well so long as the Investigating Officer does not poke 
his nose into details, does not put questions too precise and troublesome, 
and asks everything he is at liberty to ask : — how they were seated, 
how long they were together, what they did, what they said, in what 
order things occurred, &c. If the Officer has taken the indispensible 
precaution of summoning the accused and his witnesses at the same 
time, and of so ordering his examination that a witness once examined 
cannot communicate with those yet to come, it will be very odd if he 
cannot get contradictory statements. The most complicated proofs of 
alibi, concocted by the most experienced scoundrels, are just the same. 
The only difference is that they are perhaps got up more carefully ; 
yet we believe it is always possible to prove the falsity of a false alibi ; 
the job sometimes involves a lot of trouble, necessitating wearisome and 
repeated examinations, but cannot fail to bring to light contradictions. 

The most difficult cases to deal with are those in which an alibi is 
set up, all the incidents attaching to which are perfectly true, the time 
or date alone having been changed ; i.e., if the crime has been com- 
mitted on a Monday, a meeting which has taken place on a previous day 
is transferred to the Monday. Then of course all the details given by 
the different witnesses will fit in. If this procedure be suspected, the 
best plan is to cross-examine the witnesses regarding the incidents of pre- 
vious and subsequent days. In other words, having satisfied oneself that 
the alibi is false, the next problem and the only one will be, how to break 
down the witness as to date ? As all the incidents deposed to actually 
occurred, cross-examination as to them will be not only waste of time 
but will tend as well to establish the truth of the story. We nmst 
consequently proceed to incidents outside the witnesses' story. Kichard 
Harris, K.c, in his book " Hints on Advocacy " discusses this question at 
considerable length. He points out that such questions as. Where were 
you the day before ? or The day after ? are useless. You must take the 
witness entirely out of the circumstance and ask something which he does 
not anticipate. You must ask about dates as much previous or as much 
subsequent to the day in question as possible. 


Even if the accused be in prison we must not imagine that all neces- 
sary precautions have been taken. So long as one cannot keep each 
accused by himself, compel him to solitude even in his walks, surround 
him with absolutely incorruptible warders, it will be impossible to prevent 
him communicating with his friends outside. The greatest danger in 
this respect comes from his co-prisoners ; especially when they are " under 
remand," for one never knows when the inquiry against any one of them 
will not suddenly break down and the man be set at liberty. In such 
circumstances the accused have always taken the necessary precautions ; 
they have arranged among themselves what each shall tell the friends 
and relations of the other, if he ever gets outside the prison walls. Thus 
it is that, as we all know, it frequently happens that an accused suddenly 
starts an alibi which he has just thought of. We cannot understand 
how this man could be so indifferent to his fate, as not to have bethought 
himself sooner of so easy a means of at once proving his innocence. But 
we understand it all when we find out that another accused, confined in 
the same cell as this man " of the bad memory," has just been set at 
liberty ; to him has been entrusted the working up of the alibi. 

If we cannot show that a person detained in the same cell has been 
liberated, we may be sure that the accused has managed to get a letter 
smuggled outside, giving the particulars of his scheme, for who would 
have so poor a memory as to forget for so long so important a defence. 
But once we establish that a false alibi has been got up, we can have a 
fine game with the witnesses. 

As a general rule, it is more difficult to unmask false witnesses when 
their evidence has nothing to do with an alibi ; then the chief weapon 
of the Investigating Officer, the discovery of contradictions, becomes 
useless. Whoever wants to prove an alibi always takes care to have at 
least two witnesses, for he knows it is not likely that one will inspire 
confidence. But in other cases, especially when an accused wishes to 
present the whole circumstances of a case, it is often difficult for him 
to produce more than one witness for each particular moment. If then 
we have to combine the evidence of several witnesses, the contradic- 
tions which may appear in small details and especially in incidents of 
very short duration, do not count for much. For instance if a man 
wishes to prove that he has not taken part in a row, and that three 
witnesses can corroborate his statement, they will naturally be questioned 
vOnly as to the moment at which the complainant was wounded. The 
false witnesses will be careful not to enter too much into details or to 



affirm anything too positively ; it will be enough for them to swear that 
at the moment at which the complainant was wounded, their friend was 
not near him. But they cannot say exactly how everything happened, 
"the row was too great," and " the whole affair was over in a minute." 
It is difficult to say how in such a case we can discover contradictions ; 
but if that method does not succeed we must try another. 

The preceding rules of course l(Jse none of their value ; study and 
get up the case as minutely as you can, and cross-examine thoroughly. 
But another rule may be added ; discriminate as closely as possible the 
various portions of a witness's deposition. It is not sufficient to wait 
until the deposition becomes, for some reason or other, suspicious, for as 
soon as such reason arises, we have the end of the thread in our hands and 
can ordinarily unravel it with ease. But it is necessary to face in ad- 
vance the possible falsehood of every statement of witnesses. To do so is 
not to display exaggerated mistrust, but is only a proof of prudence and 
experience ; for one has often found false depositions slip into an enquiry 
in the most innocent and least suspected form. 

Starting from this principle, we first try to see if for some reason the 
witness is not speaking the truth, though desirous of doing so. If no 
ground is discovered for adopting this hypothesis, we must ask ourselves 
if perchance the witness does not wish to tell the truth ; this will lead 
us to search for some reason for his desire, a search which may indeed 
lead to the conclusion that no such reason exists. Such a ground may 
perhaps be found in the personal relations of the witness with the ac- 
cused or the wounded man ; or perhaps in some real connection between 
the witness and the occurrence itself. In the former case it may not b6 
difficult to establish friendship, relationship, or some other tie ; but 
in the latter, an accurate knowledge of all the circumstances can alone 
show if the witness is to any extent interested in the result of the 
investigation, if he has himself been an accomplice, or if he is afraid of 
being considered an accomplice, of the accused. 

If we find that the witness has any sort of connection with the 
affair, we must, to some extent, accept with mistrust all that he says and 
verify every one of his statements-; we must spare no trouble to ascertain 
the point of view at which the witness stations himself. This is not so 
difficult as one would think; the witness almost always betrays him- 
self, if only by a word. We can in this connection learn much from the 
novelist, by compelling ourselves when reading a romance to guess which 
will be the hero and which the villain of the story, and that from the 


very beginning before the author has expressly pictured them as such. 
Almost always our guess will be correct, often thanks to a single word. 
The hero may have the very worst character but he will never be avari- 
cious, stingy, envious, untruthful, or spiteful ; he will not always be 
depicted as an ideal of masculine beauty, but he will never be bald, he 
will not squint, he will not have bad teeth ; or if he has, the teeth will be 
left out, and he will possess instead ''a broad and lofty forehead," or ''a 
piercing glance" ; he may be clad carelessly or out of the fashion, but his 
linen will always be scrupulously clean. The villain will perhaps be pre- 
sented to us at the outset gifted with every physical and intellectual good 
quality ; under the mask of an honest man, he will insinuate himself into 
the heart of the ingenuous reader, until he finds that the author makes 
him speak with ''harsh" voice, or "cast a furtive glance," or appear 
"dressed with a tawdry elegance." Our man would never have received 
^such epithets, had not the author intended later on to unveil him as a 

This is precisely the procedure of a witness who desires to save the 
guilty and inculpate the innocent. In the former case he will be careful, 
especially if he is apt at the work, to attribute to the accused some 
bad qualities and prudently to admit those traits in his character which 
it is impossible to deny ; but he will guard himself against saying any- 
thing likely to render the accused contemptible or to permanently injure 
him in our estimation. On the other hand, does he wish to prejudice the 
accused ? At the start he will be genial, he will excuse, he will embel- 
lish ; then all at once he will make use of some epithet which will attract 
the attention of the Investigating Officer and remind him to be prudent; 
the witness imputes to the accused matters too grave to be considered as 
stated conscientiously. 

For observations of this kind one need not be a great psychologist ; 
with good will and sustained attention almost every one will in time 
arrive at the exact moment at which the witness lets slip the word that 
betrays him. Of course, we have not yet undisputable proofs, but the 
Investigating Officer has strong foundations for suspecting the sincerity 
of the witness's statements. It is not as a rule difficult to verify the 
justness of the suspicion. He has only to relate or describe to the 
witness some fact having an important bearing on the innocence or guilt 
of the accused, and of which the Investigating Officer is certain, either 
from having witnessed it himself, or heard it from absolutely trustworthy 


As everything can be comprehended arid related in several different 
ways, the suspected witness, if really disloyal, will tell his story in such a 
way that the Investigating Officer can at once see how he is disfiguring 
the facts. But a distinction must be drawn between the false witness 
and he who is only partial. Nor must a mere slight colouring in the 
description be taken too seriously ; indeed it is so clearly distinguish- 
able from the real false deposition that confusion is hardly possible. 

If the verification has been to the disadvantage of the witness, a 
second verification may be necessary as a check. But if the latter only 
confirms our suspicions, the best course is ordinarily to tell the witness 
straight what we think of his story ; we shall at least thereby prevent 
him from continuing his lies. It often happens, especially when we 1 
are dealing with people not particularly obdurate, that the witness at- 
tempts, more or less impudently, to lie to the Investigating Officer, then 
turns round and tells the truth as soon as he sees that the Investigating 
Officer is not going to allow himself to be taken in. We may assert 
indeed that it is all the fault of the Investigating Officer, for if he had 
paid better attention from the very beginning he would have easily 
prevented the development of the whole tissue of falsehoods. There also 
he must open his eyes and especially note carefully the contradictions in 
the deposition of the witness, and those between the deposition and the 
facts ; for there is no check more powerful and more surprising to such a 
witness than a clear and striking " ocular demonstration." 

Of course attention must also be paid to small details ; for instance, 
the witness pretends that a certain man has read him something whereas 
the man in question can neither read nor write. Again a witness affirms 
that his house was in danger of catching fire, although it was not in the 
direction in which the wind was blowing at the time ; or he asserts he 
remained out of doors half-an-hour with naked feet, although the snow 
was knee-deep. The witness states that the river frequently rises so 
high that it overflows ; we have only to look at the stones emerging but 
a little above the water, to see that they are covered with a thick bed of 
moss which would not be there if the stones were frequently submerged. 
The witness says his son had already drawn his attention to something; 
a small calculation shows that at the time in question the son was only 
four years old. 

Siriiilar examples of contradictions and self-evident impossibilities 
are frequently met with in our records ; they supply the surest method 
of demonstrating to the witness the falsity of his deposition, — but we 


mnst first discover them. This is never very difficult if one gives 
sedulous attention to the examination, listens carefully to the reading 
of the record, and always pictures to oneself in imagination what the 
witness has related. The last is indispensible and of the greatest 
assistance. Words alone do not contradict each other so strongly or 
clearly as facts, or at least one does not notice so clearly the contradiction 
in the words. But if we compel ourselves to build up in our mind the 
scene as the witness has, described it, or as we know it from previous 
recitals, and to adjust what we are told with what we already know, if 
in the course of the narrative of the witness we follow closely the facts 
and allow in thought the whole scene to unroll itself at the very spot 
where, according to our previous information, it must have taken place, 
it is almost impossible for an improbability or an impossibility to escape 
us. We must always abandon ourselves wholly to the business ; thus 
only can our task be fully accomplished. 

We have already mentioned cases in which the wrong man comes 
forward as a witness. Sometimes when a medical examination has to be 
undergone a substitute is sent. Kaspar Limen refers us to the historic 
case of the Countess of Essex (Lady Francis Howard) who sent another 
young person instead of herself to prove her virginity ^"*\ Such cases 
happen very often now-a-days. The author remembers a case where A 
injured B with a stick but without fracturing a bone. B, summoned to 
appear in Court, sent C, who happened to have fallen from a tree and 
broken his arm. C appeared, gave the name of B, was examined and 
cross-examined, and the fraud was not detected until .much later, by 
which time B had succeeded in obtaining much heavier compensation 
from A. In another case instead of a woman A, a pregnant woman 
B was sent to Court to personate A and prove that she was pregnant. 
Sometimes the wrong person comes forward as the accused. The person 
D suspected of forgery sends E, who personates D, and states that he 
is half blind and therefore unable to commit forgery. He undei-goes 
medical examination, his blindness is proved, and the prosecution of D 
is dropped. In another case F, accused of concealment of birth, declared 
herself to be too ill to appear at Court. A commissioner was sent to 
the house, where an old woman showed him her daughter lying in bed. 
A medical examination took place, the result of which established that 
the girl had never had a child at all, certainly not within a few days. 
Later on doubts arose, leading to the suspicion that the sister of the 
girl had taken her place in the bed and been examined in her stead. 



In another case H was summoned for fraud, and sent J, who was arrested 
as H. After J had been in jail for 4 or 5 days, H succeeded in leaving 
the country and J declared his real identity. In another case K had 
Deen allowed out on bail, and on the day of the first remand L appeared 
in his stead and was committed to jail. Advantage was taken of a change 
of Magistrates, but the clerk of the Court observed something different 
about the appearance of the man. It turned out that K had gone to 
bed and was too lazy to get up, so he sent L who was also on bail for 
another offence. K fully intended to give himself up but wanted to 
have another day's leave. 

All these cases prove how easily and how often such substitution can 
and does happen although the consequences may be of the greatest im- 
portance. It is difficult to avoid them altogether, as each witness cannot 
in all cases be properly identified. But if anything strange appears in 
the case, such as peculiar behaviour on the part of the witness, ^e must 
make it a rule to be specially careful. 

A question which in many cases assumes great importance is as to 
the value to be attached to the statements of dying persons^^^^\ These 
statements may have to be taken into account in various ways ; thus the 
Investigating Officer may have to question wounded persons or those 
suffering from poison ; he may have to record the depositions of persons 
who on their deathbed betray secrets long safely guarded, and accuse 
someone of a crime ; sometimes dying persons salve their consciences 
by accusing themselves of crime ; perchance they may testify to the 
innocence of one who has been convicted. In many such cases the 
dying statement has a special importance because on account of lapse 
of time or some other circumstance, every other proof is wanting. If 
the Investigating Officer has been able himself to question the dying 
person or perhaps to administer an oath, the difficulty is less, because 
he has had the opportunity of noting for himself the way in which 
the deposition has been given and so forming an opinion on its value. 
But very often it has been impossible to secure the presence of the 
Investigating Officer, and the statement is made to third persons who 
hand it on to him. 

Naturally such witnesses must be questioned with special accuracy 
and appropriate precautions ; particularly in every case the medical expert 
should decide whether the dying person is in a fit condition to make a 
sensible statement. If the medical man gives an absolutely affirmative 
reply to this question, another arises, — does the fact of being at the 


point of death exercise any special influence over the truth of the 
statement V The opinion of lawyers varies greatly on this point, some 
declare that the words of a dying man are true and infallible in all 
cases ; others are of opinion that they must be valued on the same footing 
as those of any other man. This is the view adopted by the Indian 
Legislature, as enacted in the ''Indian Evidence Act/' Sec. 32. " State- 
ments, written or verbal, of relevant facts made by a person who is 
dead .... are themselves relevant facts . . . (1) when the 
statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any 
of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death, in 
cases in which the cause of that person's death comes into question. 
Such statements are relevant whether the person who made them was 
or was not, at the time when they were made, under expectation of 
death . . . ." The last proviso differentiates the law of India 
from that of England, where such a statement cannot be legally used 
as evidence unless it be proved that the deceased was, when making it, 
' in expectation of death.' 

Clergymen and especially catholic priests, who have heard a thousand 
times the last secrets of the dying, must have had much greater experience 
than lawyers on so important a question. The opinion of enlightened 
and unprejudiced priests is that the answer depends upon whether the 
dying man is or is not a true believer. In the former case every credence 
can be given to his statement, since, in the firm conviction that he is 
about to appear before the supreme judge, he will certainly not burden his 
conscience with a grave sin. The difficulty is to know whether the 
dying man is or is not a true believer. 

Assuming that he is not a believer a further distinction must be 
drawn. In the first case the dying man has no need to be cautious 
because his memory cannot be injured by what he says, or because it 
matters little to him if it be, so long as he is sure that no injury can 
befall his relations in honour, fortune, or any other fashion. Here the 
deposition made in presence of death is true, even if the deponent has 
not been in life one to whom absolute credence could be accorded. But 
when it can be proved that the unbeliever still takes an interest in his 
own memory and his relations' welfare, and that interest is affected by 
his statements, then the latter is of no more value than if made at any 
other period of his life. If he was an honest man, he will speak the 
truth also on his death bed ; but if not, he may well have lied, even at 
the supreme moment. 




C. Pathological Lying. 

Between the state of a person who desires to speak the truth and 
that of another person who does not so desire, there are what may 
be called intermediary positions ; such is the case where a person, not 
having at a given moment the intention of lying, yet under the influence 
of habit presents his facts in such a manner that their falsity becomes at 
once apparent. 

This is not as a rule due to sickness or disease. But there must 
have been undoubtedly a train of circumstances, causing the individual 
to be, at least temporarily, in an abnormal state of mind leading him 
to accept falsehood as truth. Such cases present great difhculties to the 
Investigating Officer, for while these lies are without motive, at least 
any apparent motive, yet the impression produced by such persons is 
absolutely normal, and their statements are always so cleverly and 
clearly presented that one would never, apart from extraneous cir- 
cumstances, suspect their falsity. Such cases, which may be called 
"pathological," occur particularly among persons gifted with a lively 
imagination, among woman and children, and pass through every grade 
from the small exaggeration to the complete invention of the whole story. 

The most interesting example is furnished us by Goethe ; he says 
in the second book of his work " Truth and Falsehood,'' that he often 
related stories he had himself imagined, as narratives of events that 
had really happened to him. He concludes thus ; '* If I had not learnt 
gradually and in conformity with my natural bent to transform these 
imaginings and braggings into works of literary art, such a beginning 
would undoubtedly have had very serious consequences for me." The 
first to treat of normal sources of errors of memory was Maudslei/^'^^\ 
followed in order by Siaiy^^^'^\ K rdpelin ^^^^\ and Dr. Lelbruck^^^^-^^^\ 
The last, who has dealt with the matter exhaustively, cites a great 
many cases in which people have told false stories, through an instinct- 
ive impulse to lie, but, in spite of there being lack of discernment 
between true and false, these cases cannot be classed with those we have 
described as ** pathological." Evidently, we must put on one side all 
instances in which there is real disease, to which Delbrilck has given 
the name '' Pseudologia phantasticay It nmst be left to the medical 
expert to decide whether the impulse to lie and deceive is developed to^ 
such a point as to enter into the domain of "hysteria" and 


insanity." But the Investigating Officer encounters his greatest diifi^ 


culties when he has to deal with people whose character is what 
Forel ^'^^^ calls " Ethico-Idwtic'\ which renders them absolutely in- 
capable of speaking the truth. This may go further than one would 
suppose; take for example, the case of the woman, hysterical it is true, 
cited by Beinhard <i23--i24)^ ^]^q wrote herself false letters, sent to herself 
anonymous messages, and finally at last became thoroughly convinced 
of the genuineness of all she had herself written. In this connection 
lUpping^^^\ recommends extreme caution in the interrogation of women 
who are enceinte, or have been recently confined ; these frequently give 
long accounts of things that never happened although at ordinary times 
absolutely truthful and w^orthy of credence. 

Even in the simplest circumstances, the Investigating Officer himself 
may be the cause of much difficulty ; if for example he has to do with 
timid or conscientious witnesses he may by his mere questioning drive 
them into making false statements, by bringing them to believe at last 
that they have really witnessed things that have never taken place. To 
this feature Bernlieim^'^^^^ has given the characteristic name of " retro- 
active hallucination." Great care and caution is in such cases the best 
support of the Investigating Officer. 

Headers who desire to pursue further this difficult subject will find 
abundunt material in the works of the authors cited above. 

Section iii. — Examination of the accused. 

As is probably known to most of our readers, the examination of an 
accused person in Europe is legally much more thorough than is con- 
templated by Indian Law, and is occasionally in practice carried to a 
pitch which shocks our sense of fairness. Yet even in India we have to 
deal with statements and confessions of accused persons, and the follow- 
ing section will furnish suggestive hints to those whose business it is to 
interrogate, or record the statements of an accused. It will be useful 
however to summarize the Law of India on this point, so that it may be 
kept clearly in mind while perusing the following pages. 

1. Under the Oaths x\ct, no oath or affirmation can under any cir- 
cumstances or at any time be administered to an accused person. 

2. Any statement made by an accused person may be used as an 
"admission" as evidence against himself, and in certain exceptional cir- 
cumstances on behalf of himself (Evidence Act, Sec. 21). 

'6. Admissions which amount to confessions are placed on a special 
footing. A confession must inculpate the person making it himself, 



otherwise it cannot be used against any other person inculpated in it. 
A statement which merely purports to throw the blame on some one 
else cannot be used as evidence against that other. 

4. Under no circumstances and at no time shall a confession made 
to a police officer be proved as against a person accused of any offence 
(Evidence Act, Sec. 24). 

5. A confession caused by an inducement, threat, or promise by a 
person in authority {i.e., not only official authority, but e.g., of a master 
over a servant, employer over a workman, &c.,) is irrelevant as evidence 
(Evidence Act, Sec. 24), but if, in the opinion of the court, the impres- 
sion caused by any such inducement, threat, or promise has been fully 
removed, the confession may become relevant (Evidence Act, Sec. 28). 

6. No confession made by any person while he is in the custody of a 
police officer, shall be proved as against such person unless it be made 
in the immediate presence of a Magistrate ; but if any fact is deposed to 
as discovered in consequence of such information or confession, so much 
thereof as relates distinctly to the fact thereby discovered, may be 
proved (Evidence Act, Sees. 26 and 27). 

7. When more persons than one are being tried jointly, and a 
confession made by one of such persons affecting himself and a co-accused 
is proved, the Court may '* take such confession into consideration as 
against such other person ", as well as against the person making it. 
(Evidence Act, Sec. 30). 

8. The Criminal Procedure Code lays down how a confession made^ 
before a Magistrate, as in No. 6 above, shall be recorded. The mode is the 
same as stated in No. 10 below, and in addition it is laid down (Cr. P. C, 
Sec. 164) " No Magistrate shall record any such confession unless, upon 
questioning the person making it, he has reason to believe that it was 
made voluntarily ; and when he records any confession, he shall make 
a memorandum at the foot of such record to the following effect. " I 
believe that this confession was voluntarily made. It was taken in my 
presence and hearing, and was read over to the person making it and 
admitted by him to be correct, and it contains a full and true account of 
the statement made by him." A careful Magistrate usually excludes 
the police and leaves the accused in charge of his own officers for some 
time before recording his statement, so as to allow the supposed baleful 
influence of the police to evaporate. ■ I 

9. When the case is one for committal to Sessions, the Magistrat*" 
'' may " after the evidence has been taken, " examine the accused for the 


purpose of enabling him to explain any circumstances appearing in the 

Sevidence against him" (Cr. P. C, Sec. 209). At the Sessions trial this 

examination must be tendered and read as evidence (Cr. P. C, Sec. 287). 

Bin ordinary trials and in Sessions trials, the accused may at the close of 
the prosecution case be similarly '' examined " (Cr. P. C, Sees. 253, 
289). It has been over and over again laid down by the Indian High 
Courts that such an examination is intended solely, as the section says, 
'' to enable the accused to explain any circumstances appearing in the 
evidence against them," and should not be allowed to degenerate into 
cross-examination or still less into an attempt to trap the accused. 
Unfortunately Magistrates and even Sessions Judges do not always lay 
this injunction to heart, with the result that their examination of the 
accused often reads as if lifted bodily from Le Journal or Le Matin. 
10. Statements or confessions made under any of the circumstances 
mentioned in Nos. 8 and 9 must be recorded as prescribed in Sec. 864 of 
the Code of Criminal Procedure, and any irregularity appearing on the 
face of the record as to the fulfilment of the conditions of Sees. 164 or 
864, can only be corrected by calling evidence, generally that of the 
Magistrate himself, to show that all the required formalities have really 
been complied with. 

" (1) Wherever the accused is examined by any Magistrate, or by 

any Court other than a High Court the whole of such examination, 

including every question put to him and every answer given by him, 
shall be recorded in full, in the language in which he is examined, or, if 
that is not practicable, in the language of the Court or in English : and 
such record shall be shown or read to him, or, if he does not understand 
the language in which it is written, shall be interpreted to him in 
a language which he understands, and he shall be at liberty to explain or 
add to his answers. 

" (2) When the whole is made conformable to what he declares is 
the truth, the record shall be signed by the accused and the Magistrate 
or Judge of such Court, and such Magistrate or Judge shall certify 
under his own hand that the examination was taken in his presence and 
hearing, and that the record contains a full and true account of the 
statement made by the accused. 

(3) Incases in which 'the examination of the accused is not re- 
corded by the Magistrate or Judge himself, he shall be bound, unless he 
is a Presidency Magistrate, as the examination proceeds, to make a 
memorandum thereof in the language of the Court, or in English, if he is 



sufficiently acquainted with the latter language ; and such memorandum 
shall be written and signed by the Magistrate or Judge with his own 
hand, and shall be annexed to the record. If the Magistrate or Judge is 
unable to make a memorandum as above required, he shall record the 
reason of such inability." 

Notwithstanding such elaborate precautions in favour of the accused 
it is astonishing how many convictions are, in India, based upon con- 
fessional statements. Bearing these rules in mind we now proceed with our 
general analysis. 

The examination of an accused person is the most difficult of all 
tasks for an Investigating Officer who appreciates its value. We can here 
give only a few hints. He who knows men, who is gifted with a good 
memory and presence of mind, who takes pleasure in his work and 
zealously abandons himself to it, who keeps always scrupulously on the 
legal platform, and who sees always in the accused a fallen brother or 
one wrongfully suspected, he will question well. But an officer w^ho 
is wanting in a single one of these qualifications will never do any good. 
And yet even these qualifications are not all : there are other con- 
ditions which the Investigating Officer ought indeed never to lose sight 
of but which are exceptionally necessary in the examination of an 

Thus the officer must compel himself to be sincere even to the limits 
of pedantry, impenetrable by any shock. It appears supremely natural 
that an honest man should speak the truth ; and yet the Investigating 
Officer is tempted only too often by excess of zeal, to alter, be it but in 
the minutest detail, the deposition of a witness, the report of an expert, 
or some other document, which he communicates to the accused — " to 
assist him in making a clean breast of it," often too he is led to pretend 
to know something of which he is ignorant, or knows only imperfectly, 
or to affirm something without substantial grounds. 

But how terrible are [the consequences ? the fear that the falsehood 
may be discovered, the confusion if the accused remains incredulous, the 
life-long torments inflicted by conscience ! What at the moment ap- 
peared but a slight "inaccuracy, " lives in our recollection as time goes on, 
as an infamous lie ; its effect, if it had any, seems to us a success unfairly 
obtained, and the man whose guilt was certain will be transformed into 
an innocent victim. Calm and absence of passion are also indispensible. 
The officer who becomes excited or loses his temper delivers himself into 
the hands of the accused, if the latter, wiser than the officer, preserves his 


sangfroid, or even with happy foresight, sets himself deUberately to 
exasperate his questioner so as to get the better of him. Certainly it is 
not always easy to maintain a calm demeanour ; the crime may be of a 
nature to justify disgust or hatred, the accused maj^ deny everything too 
impudently, may be always evading the real object of the question, may 
be unwilling to understand, or may talk only nonsense, but in spite of 
everything the Investigating Officer must never forget that he has to 
do his duty and that his duty enjoins on him not to allow himself to 
be beaten by the accused. A conscientious officer, however naturally 
irascible, will not allow himself to be carried away; he will be constantly 
repeating to himself these words, " It is my duty." 

Further an Investigating Officer who is afraid of the accused is lost. 
It is difficult not to feel fear when one is naturally timid, but as we have 
already said, whoever is wanting in courage has no business to be an 
Investigating Officer. Besides we have all seen examples of men by 
nature cowardly who, thanks to their own determination and force of 
long habit, have quite forgotten that there was a time when the rolling 
eyes of an accused made them feel very uncomfortable. 

We would not assume for ourselves the responsibility of advising 
that an Investigating Officer should never take precautions for his safety 
as regards the accused, as having him put in irons, guarded during his 
examination, &c.; let each man do what he thinks necessary. The 
author's opinion is that such inquietude is always and without exception 
superfluous. Will not a mortifying impression be produced upon the 
accused when he finds himself dragged in chains into the office of the 
Investigating Officer and by excess of precaution surrounded by warders, 
or if he notices that, before he has been brought in, scissors, heavy ink 
bottles, paper knives, and all dangerous utensils which he might snatch 
up and use as weapons of offence have been carefully put aside, or even if 
the officer maintains a respectful distance and changes his tone whenever 
the accused raises his voice or clenches his fists ? The officer will not 
impose upon him by this means or convince him by his arguments. 

And even when all precautions have been taken, even if the accused 
be brought shut up in an iron cage, if he really unshes to do anything he 
can always do it. But that is of no importance. It is as rare to see an 
iccused raise his hand against an Investigating Officer, as to see a g;ieteor 
iill someone in its fall; should any mischief befall an Investigating 
Officer at the hands of an accused person, the former can always 
jonsole himself with the reflection that it is certainly his own fault. 



There are other and better means of self-protection which the In- 
vestigating Officer has always at his disposal ; among these are perfect 
composure, prudence, and procedure in strict conformity with law 
and humanity. There are, it is true, extremely dangerous prisoners, with 
whom extreme caution is never out of place. One must become accus- 
tomed in such a case never for one moment, not even one single moment, 
to remove one's eyes from the individual, to cease following and watch- 
ing all his looks, all his movements. Further, one must never sit down 
near a suspicious character ; both in attack and in defence one should 
always be standing ; for if one is seated when attacked, the mere getting 
up and putting oneself on the defensive causes considerable loss of time. 
If the accused be seated — as he ought to be — and the ofBcer be standing, 
the latter has the advantage whatever happens. 

Further, one should stand as near the accused as possible without 
attracting his attention. One observes him better, does not forget 
constantly to keep an eye on him, he is not so tempted to do anything if 
he sees the officer close to him, and if the worst come to the worst, one is 
in the best possible attitude for seizing him. 

But all that is only to frighten him. The author has interrogated 
hundreds of accused and has never come across one who made as if to 
attack him. There are indeed but few cases where such an attempt 
would have been of any use ; for example, in a very small court or office 
room, with no warders or police in the passages or at the doors, the 
accused might try to get away in this manner. If in such a case the 
Investigating Officer is not accompanied by a clerk or peon, or if the 
latter is at a distance, he must never for an instant take his eye off the 
accused, as for instance to search for some document on the record, 
for then if the accused be armed he may very well endeavour to strike 
down the officer and attempt to fly ; but here there are so many " if's " 
and so many imprudences, that such a concatenation of circumstances 
is almost impossible. i 

Another case in which the accused may raise his hand against the 
Investigating Officer is where the latter shows himself unfair, passionate, 
rude, or contemptuous towards the accused, thus exciting his anger. If, 
in such circumstances, one of those misfortunes to which human nature 
is exposed befalls the Investigating Officer, it is only what he deserves. 
Do not say " There must have been a mistake, perhaps the accused 
fancied that he was being treated or judged in an unjust manner, when 
in reality it was not so." That does not usually happen. The accused,- 


to whatever class of society he belongs, is most precise, and just like a 
child, if one treats him with unjust severity. He will never rebel 
against severity, and the most perverse is impressed when he sees the 
official doing his duty zealously ; the harshest severity will not affect the 
accused if he finds the Investigating Officer at the same time exhibiting 
towards him a humane good- will, and not endeavouring solely to crush 
him whenever possible, but setting out in relief as zealously everything 
which can establish his innocence or attenuate his offence. 

The very technique of the examination demands a knowledge and 
understanding of the man with whom we have to do. If the previous 
history of the accused has been registered only at the end of the record to 
which he has been a party, we need not expect any good to come of the 
whole inquiry, for the Investigating Officer has not taken the trouble to 
study the accused before setting to work, and if he has not done so he 
must have omitted many points absolutely necessary. But if we find the 
antecedents of the accused carefully registered at the beginning of the 
record, the whole inquiry will be conducted at least carefully and intelli- 

In thus setting out his antecedents with accuracy we learn above 
all what sort of man is before us, we can hark back to events of long 
ago and establish, with the help of questions, many things which, if 
not strictly relevant to the matter in hand, often enable us to form an 
accurate estimate of the character of the accused. As a general rule 
the accused here speaks the truth, at least to a great extent, and if he 
does not do so, we can learn thereby to recognise his usual style of lying. 
In addition, we can quickly pick out the lies. We take notes and estab- 
lish certain periods, then we make him go over the story again a little 
later, and then note the impossibilities, the contradictions, the gaps ; 
also we can often pick up from the old records, antecedents incidentally 
mentioned by the accused and compare them with his story. If we 
recall them to the accused, at the same time letting him see that we are 
not going to allow ourselves to be imposed upon, he may not unfrequently 
be led to renounce his intention of lying about the matter in hand, 
and penitently admit his guilt, when the affair under inquiry is imper- 
ceptibly introduced. It is a good plan not to draw too accurate a line 
between the antecedents and the examination strictly so called, but rather, 
proceeding in chronological order, to arrive gradually at the moment 
at which the crime has been committed, in the hope that he will begin 
himself to speak about it. 



We do not assert that in this way a confession should be dragged out 
of the accused ; that would be both dishonest and useless. What we say 
is that nothing is gained by making his confession a painful task to him. 
We are convinced that in rendering his avowal easy, we are acting in 
his best interests, for it is always to his interest to confess ; his actions 
appear in less sombre colours, he is sure of a less severe punishment, 
and the disburdening of his conscience is a blessing to the most hardened 

It is merciless, or rather psychologically wrong, to expect anyone 
boldly and directly to confess his crime, perhaps an abominable offence ; 
persons with an extensive acquaintance with men of the lowest charac- 
ter know only too well what repugnance they feel in employing the 
correct expression, even after a complete avowal. Persons of a some- 
what higher moral grade, often shrink from using the word ''steal"; 
while the number of periphrastic expressions employed to avoid uttering 
the simple word " kill " is extraordinary. Now if it is repugnant to such 
people to pronounce a single characteristic word, it must be much more 
painful for them to make without ceremony a confession of their mis- 
deeds in a connected recital. We must smootli their way, render their 
task easy. Often also we must seize the exact moment when confession 
is easiest to the guilty man ; we must often have abundance of patience ; 
we must advance slowly, step by step ; we must make troublesome 
investigations, if the guilt is only partially admitted or if from a number 
of facts the accused recognises only some. We must often in such a case 
make very accurate distinctions ; frequently an accused admits only up to 
a certain point, that is to say, as far as he can go without compromising 
an accomplice, or again up to the time when his conduct becomes 
criminal, or perhaps when a less serious crime may be transformed into 
one carrying a heavier punishment, as e.g., theft in a dwelling-house 
into house-breaking and theft. 

There often exists, even among the vilest specimens of humanity, a 
certain standard of honour which it is most important the Investigating 
Officer should appreciate at its true value. Frequently the attempts of 
the accused to prevent his crime appearing worse than it really is, are 
very like an attempt to deny everything that can possibly be denied. 
We cannot, hardly without exception, be absolutely certain as to what^ 
is true and what is not true, unless, in the course of our examination, 
we come to know the character of the accused sufficiently well to enabl( 
us to judge what line he is most likely to take. 


To sum up, we must never shrink from any trouble which will help us 
to hiow the accused, his history, and the necessary details of the matter 
in hand, for nothing will so entirely and so definitely sweep away any 
ascendency we may have acquired over him as to betray ignorance of 
details, even the most insignificant. If the accused notes any gap, any 
mistake, any piece of ignorance on the part of the Investigating Officer, 
he at once intrenches himself behind it, and all the labour, all the 
sagacity of the officer are powerless to make him abandon his asylum. 

With regard to an important point in connection with "Confessions," 
referred to in the author's ''Criminal Psychology " ^^^^\ we can only 
mention here that false confessions are very often made through in- 
sanity. Such cases are very dangerous, for the insanity is sometimes 
quite unnoticeable, the confessing person appearing perfectly normal to 
the non-professional^^^^\ In several cases of poisoning (by gas and 
mushrooms) very strange false confessions have been made and the In- 
vestigating Officer cannot be too careful^*^\ 

We may here add a few words on the question of physiognomy. 
There are few sciences the value of which has been more exaggerated 
by its partizans and more unjustly depreciated by its adversaries. The 
balance seems to incline in favour of those who attribute to it consider- 
able value. Certainly it is going too far to fix certain types of the human 
face and to pretend that one can deduce from certain features, structures, 
colours, and their relations with one another, definite mental and moral 
characteristics; but it is beyond doubt that the experienced critic can 
learn from the lines of the face and play of the features much more, and 
more satisfactorily, than anyone could tell him. We cannot of course give 
here a precis of physiognomy, but we know enough to enable us to re- 
commend strongly to an Investigating Officer the study of the subject both 
theoretically and practically. We certainly do not pretend that he should 
take in his hands the antiquated Lavater and pin his faith to him. But 
whoever studies attentively the works of modern writers on this subject, 
as Mantegazza^^^' and Baer^^^^\ will find that even to-day we can learn 
much from the founder of the science. It is not easy always to say 
when he is deceived and when he is right. He is deceived, as we have 
just said, when he exaggerates the value of typical characters ; he is 
instructive when he teaches us how to read the general character of 
a physiognomy. 

It was his fate, for instance, to mistake for a portrait of Herder, a 
portrait he had long looked for, that of a murderer executed in Hanover 




and to read in the features all the qualities he had supposed to exist in 
Herder. But again he is invaluable when he says, e.g., '' I chiefly 
recognise the true sage and the truly honest man by the mode in 
which they listen . . . They have a certain brightness in the eye, 
a clearness of vision, in which serenity and liveliness appear to unite, 
something intermediate between the lightning flash and the extinguished 
glimmer of a dying eye." No one can even to-day give an Investigat- 
ing Ofttcer a more precise lesson. To observe how the person questioned 
listens is a rule of primary importance, and if the officer observes it, 
he will arrive at his goal more quickly than by hours of examination. 
Undoubtedly the features must not be wholly neglected. Buheis^^^'^^ \^ 
quite correct when he says; " suppose that one of your intimate friends 
covers his face so as to conceal the forehead, the chin, and half the 
cheeks. The eyes, the nose, and the upper lip are alone visible, and 
yet you will recognise him at once. But if he puts on a mask which 
covers the half of his forehead and the small space between the eyes 
and the upper part of the nose, you will no longer recognise him." 

These rules and a hundred others of great value, the Investigating 
Officer cannot discover for himself, however hard he tries, even in the 
course of a long experience ; he must seek them in books where they are 
laid down scientifically; then in his practice he can extend and perfect 
his knowledge, and the time devoted to his preliminary studies will 
certainly not be thrown away. 

It is impossible to leave this question of the treatment of an accused 
person by the Investigating Officer, without saying a word as to what is 
called '' The school " of Lombroso. Indeed the works of Lomhroso and j 
in particular " L'homme criminel," " Le criminel politique et la 
lievolution," " L'homme de genie," " Genie et folic," " La criminelle et 
la prostituee," are to be found to-day in the hands of all criminal ex- 
perts and have exercised on all of them some, at times great, influence. 
The high authority wielded by Lomhroso is due not only to the abundance 
of the materials provided by him, to the number of new ideas, and the 
captivating audacity of his reasoning ; it is due also to the fact that his 
theory is in absolute accord with the nihilistic tendency which, to-day, 
penetrates everywhere. This modern tendency to bring everything to 
the ^ame level consists in the negation of distinctive characteristics, and 
just as the social ideas preach equality, so the natural sciences profess 
that arh4iving beings have the same origin ; physical science propounds 
the identity of forces, and medical science affirms the impotency of a 



thousand remedies once deemed to be infallible. Why then should we be 
surprised if this nihilist tendency penetrating into our science has created 
this doctrine, — there is no difference in nature between the criminal and 
the honest man ; the former is only a hereditary degenerate, gifted with a 
morbid constitution ; and if we do not go on to draw the logical con- 
clusion — there is no difference between good and bad, it is only because 
we do not dare. If Lomhroso did not exist, there would be a gap in the 
logical evolution of modern ideas. 

Let us examine a Httle the basis of this new doctrine. One of the 
G-erman author s^*^\ who knows it best, summarises it thus : — Accord- 
ing to this doctrine all true criminals possess a continuous series (of 
the nature of cause and effect) of physical characteristics, the existence 
of which is proved by anthropology, and of moral characteristics the 
existence of which can be proved by psychophysiology ; these charac- 
teristics constitute of criminals a particular variety, an anthropological 
type of the human race, and those who possess them are criminals by the 
stern decree of fate — even if they are never found out, — and that too 
independently of all social and individual conditions. Such a man is 
born to be a criminal, he is as Lomhroso puts it, delinquente nato, the 
genuine original sinner. This hypothesis does not pretend to deny that 
acquired qualities or social influences (education, habit, temptation, 
poverty) will not occasionally make a man a criminal ; on the contrary, 
the theory may be developed to recognise the existence of criminals by 
passion, by chance, or by habit ; but it seeks to explain the existence of 
criminals by nature, by an innate disposition. The indications of this 
disposition are certain physical peculiarities not the result of bodily 
disease ; and its elements are certain fundamental qualities of character 
and morality, clearly distinct from the symptoms of mental disease ; and 
the knowledge of which enables the psychologist to declare that those 
possessing them cannot help becoming criminals ^^^*~^^^\ 

Now the School of Lomhroso sets itself to discover and establish the 
anatomical variations to be found in criminals, their primary character- 
istics, variations in rudimentary organs, variations in secondary sexual 
characteristics, variations in multiple organs, variations resulting from a 
stoppage or diversion in development, and finally, acquired characteristics. 

It cannot be denied that the " school " has succeeded in proving the 
existence of these anatomical variations in a certain number of criminals, 
but it has been impossible to push the demonstration far enough to 
establish a determinate type of criminal. This has been proved by 



Dr. Kirn^^^^ in a most convincing manner in a brief brochure. He shows 
that, truly enough, one can in examining carefully a certain number of 
convicts discover some mental anomalies and various marks of degener- 
acy, but these never appear in identically the same fashion, and far from 
l)eing typical appear in the greatest diversity, setting all rules at defiance. 
Further one frequently finds one symptom of intellectual weakness, but 
very rarely in combination all the symptoms characteristic of " moral 
insanity. " Thus there being no correspondence in individuals taken one 
by one, there can be no question of a criminal type. 

The theory of Lombroso has been completely demolished by Dr. 
NdcJce in his dissertation on " The methodology of a scientific anthro- 
pology "^*^'"^**Mn which he comes to the conclusion that the works of 
Lomhroso, " with their arbitrary processes, their exaggerations and 
premature conclusions, in no way answer to what one has a right to 
expect in a scientific work." The truth is "there is neither criminal born 
nor type of criminal." 

The chief dogma of the positive school is thus destroyed, but we may 
pause to ask whence has it drawn the materials necessary to these 
seductive conclusions. It has noted and utilised the statistics furnished 
by prisons ; and here it cannot be denied that the numbers cited and 
furnishing such and such percentages are here and there pretty high ; but 
only here and there. Often the percentage is so low that no conclusion can 
be drawn from it, for whenever the percentage is very low we are always 
liable to find that chance has had something to do with the calculation of 
the statistics. Further it is frequently overlooked that the percentage 
obtained for a particular criminal anomaly must be compared with the 
corresponding percentage among non-criminals. Ordinarily this compa- 
rison is impossible, for one can carry on investigations only upon criminals 
confined in gaols ; occasionally, on certain points, we may make enquiries 
among men, but not among women, so that no-one can say in what 
proportion any particular anomaly is met with among others than 
convicts. The enquiries undertaken in schools, barracks, and hospitals, 
and the notes made at jpost-mortem examinations, can furnish but ap- 
proximate information; for it cannot be imagined that a definite and 
representative section of the whole human race is here dealt with. But 
if it cannot be asserted that a certain anomaly is met with in a well 
established percentage of the whole race, then the percentage found for 
criminals is of very doubtful scientific value, however accurate the 
inquiry may have been. Suppose for example it has been established 


that a certain anomaly is found among 10 per cent, of all criminals ; 
that is of no value unless it can be shown that a different percentage 
prevails among non-criminals. But if it is pretended that this anomaly 
is found among only 5 per cent, of non-criminals because that proportion 
has been found to exist in schools, barracks and hospitals, it is only an 
approximate supposition-, for no one knows in what proportion the anomaly 
might be met with among that other section, and far the larger section, 
of men who are outside schools, barracks, and hospitals. Besides the 
materials at disposal in each of these inquiries are special and do not 
represent the bulk ; at school we find youth ; in the barracks picked men 
from a physical point of view ; in the hospital, the poorest portion of the 
populace. But approximate suppositions are not scientific proofs. 

In truth the weak point of the conclusions derived from statistics by 
Lomhroso and his followers arises from the theoretically false way in 
which he builds up his figures, whereby the whole basis of his system 
crumbles away. Admit what Lovihroso says : The anomaly A is found 
among x % oi the convicts in all the prisons of the world, the anomaly B 
in y %, the anomaly C in ^ % and so on ; then to conclude that these anom- 
alies will be found in the indicated proportions among all the criminals 
of the world, is false. We could only draw this conclusion if we could 
divide all the inhabitants of the world into two camps, criminals and 
non-criminals, sheep and goats ; if then we could examine all the people 
in the two camps, establish the percentages of anomaly, and compare the 
results, we should be safe. But here the materials are not only uncertain 
but inaccurate. Lomhroso has examined convicts in prison ; that his 
materials may be complete, he must examine all who have been pre- 
viously in gaol, all who commit crimes without being caught, and all who 
would naturally become criminals if favourable circumstances had not by 
chance snatched them from a criminal career, e.g., those who would have 
been thieves if they had not been well off, or poachers if they had not 
been lucky enough when young to be appointed game-keepers. 

Thus we cannot say that convicts represent an unfluctuating and 
certain proportion of criminals, for that cannot be proved. No more can 
we tell, even approximately, the number of old offenders now at liberty, 
the number of living criminals who will be punished some day, the 
number of undiscovered criminals, and the number of those who, natu- 
rally disposed to crime, will never for one reason or another enter the 
criminal ranks. But if such numbers cannot be fixed even approximately, 
there is nothing to rest on to establish the proportion in which an 


anomaly will be found among convicts, in comparison with criminals at 
liberty. It may be objected that in a series of years we may arrive 
at sufficient certainty if the proportion remains the same, although the 
prison population may have changed. Without taking into account that 
we should have to wait many years to apply this test, it would prove 
only one thing, namely, that the proportion remained the same among 
convicts, and there would still be no possible comparison between crimi- 
nals inside prison and criminals outside it. 

The arithmetical error committed by Lombroso is thus a double one ; 
on the one hand he does not take into account all the criminals which he 
should include, and on the other he counts the criminals at liberty among 
his honest men. Thus if convicts be C, honest men H, and criminals at 
liberty X, he compares C with H and X, instead of comparing C and X 
with H. And he cannot help himself, because X is an unknown 

Thus we can say that the figures furnished by the positive School of 
Lombroso and on which it has built up such grave conclusions, are taken 
wholly at hazard ; we can say that the percentages which should serve 
as proof are calculated on numbers drawn by chance, and that the rela- 
tion of such number to the total number of men is and must remain 
absolutely unknown. 

We do not deny that the general researches of Lombroso have awak- 
ened a crowd of ideas and established many important facts. Nor do we 
deny that Lombroso has shown, better than any of his predecessors, that 
our prisons contain more than one moral wreck or individual of stunted 
mental development, who would be far better in an hospital for incurables. 
To Lombroso belongs the immortal merit of having insisted on the care 
with which we should proceed in dealing with such individuals. But his 
theory reaches no further. That persons of feeble intelligence, full of 
hereditary defects and morally shipwrecked, fall into crime more readily 
than others, has been known for ages ; and when we are advised to be 
more careful of them than we have been up to now, when it is a ques- 
tion of their punishment, we receive the advice with many thanks ; but 
that is no ground for the criminal expert suspending his work and yield- 
ing up his place to the medical man alone. 


Section i. — Preparation. 

His report^*^^ of an inspection of localities is a real touchstone for the 
Investigating Officer. In no other duty are address, power of observa- 
tion, logical reasoning, methodised energy, and keeping the end ever in 
view, so clearly revealed ; and nowhere else can more striking examples 
of awkwardness, feebleness of observation, disorder, vagueness, and hesi- 
tation be found. When the Investigating Officer receives records from 
other Courts he is obliged to find out the peculiarities of character of 
the official who has prepared them ; by this means he will know what 
to think of the work of his colleague. If he find among the records a 
description of a locality he need but read it to immediately form an idea 
of the value of the remaining documents. An unskilful Investigating 
Officer will never furnish a good report of this description, while on the 
other hand such a document will reveal a good Investigating Officer at 
his true value. In a judicial inspection of localities it is necessary to 
conform to a sort of technical formula {technique) in the method of pro- 
cedure and this formula is acquired only by conscientious preparation, 
complete absence of excitement, and by dispassion. The latter must be 
obtained at all })rice and must be divested of all affectation. Above all 
he must take care to be well prepared and have everything arranged — 
even to the smallest details. Local inspection is only ordered in the 
most important cases ; but then the gravity of the case, the unlooked- 
for incidents, the feeling of heavy responsibility, the emotion produced 
by horrible and sorrowful sights, in addition to other circumstances, in 
themselves act so violently upon the Investigating Officer that he has 
no need of other difficulties of an incidental nature to distract his atten- 
tion, already sufficiently absorbed, even though these lesser difficulties 
may have an importance of their own. 

In the first place then the Investigating Officer must be careful to 

jbtain a clerk who is willing, brisk, and clear-headed. Should the clerk 

!ind his task tedious or work with an ill grace, the Investigating Officer 

uns the risk of being himself unconsciously influenced by him and may 

neglect to make so minute an inquiry as he otherwise would do in order 



not to further dishearten his assistant : if the clerk be a slow writer the 
best part of one's time is lost and the most zealous of Investigating 
Officers begins to feel himself becoming disgusted or impatient, — accord- 
ing to his temperament. Moreover the time allotted to each excursion is 
nearly always limited, and the Investigating Officer is often hindered in 
making the necessary observations for the sole reason that the clerk is a 
dawdler. Further the clerk should be intelligent, so that he may seize 
with rapidity the information dictated by the Investigating Officer, be 
able to assist him, and devote his attention to details pointed out to him 
by the Investigating Officer, to observe on his own account and point out 
to the Investigating Officer what may have escaped the latter — four eyes 
are better than two. The author always recalls with a feeling of thank- 
fulness the services of one of his assistants who during five consecutive 
years seconded him when attached to one of the largest and most 
important Provincial Courts. At first it took a deal of trouble to knock 
this man into shape, for all his schooling had been acquired at but a 
primary school, but to his indefatigable zeal, sincere attachment, unceas- 
ing wakefulness, and natural gift of observation, the author owes most 
valuable discoveries, and more than one success obtained in important 
inquiries should be entirely attributed to this honest and simple-minded 
subordinate. It is true that in the smaller Courts one has not always 
good material at his disposal, but the Investigating Officer should be 
given the best at hand when he is setting out to examine the scene of a 

Being then in possession of a useful assistant, care should be taken 
to make him perfectly conversant with the matter in hand ; all the 
facts, theories, and possible solutions should be explained to him, he 
must be told to observe for himself things that the Investigating Officer 
foresees he will be unable to attend to, and in short the whole scheme of 
the inquiry must be discussed with him. To try and make mysteries 
with one's assistant is not only ridiculous but can in no case be of any 
utility whatsoever. If he be unworthy of confidence, he is unfitted for 
his post and must be at once got rid of ; but if he is worthy of confi- 
dence, he may as well be made acquainted a little in advance with what 
he cannot fail to see when he comes to carry out his personal duties. 

The author has made a point of not communicating his plans too 
soon to the clerk but only immediately before carrying them into execu- 
tion, when it was certain that he would not be leaving again before the 
work was begun. However worthy of confidence a man may be, his 


tongue is frequently stronger than his head and heart, and his chatter 
may do a great deal of harm. It must not be forgotten that the clerk, 
by virtute of the law itself, is not a mere writing machine ; he is 
employed by Government to help the investigation, and has the right 
to give an opinion. It is self-evident that he cannot be allowed without 
restraint to put his spoke into every wheel, for then the Investigating 
Officer would lose his authority. Such conduct would also be productive 
of disorder and in many cases the thoughtless boasting of the assistant 
might upset all th'e master's plans. Where the Investigating Officer is 
thus in the habit of informing his clerk of his projects and initiating 
him into his schemes, it is a good plan to arrange that should the clerk 
wish to inform the master of anything he should write it down on his 
writing pad. When the Investigating Officer notices that the clerk is 
starting to scribble, he should, so as not to draw the attention of any 
one, stop dictating for some excuse or other and then when he sees that 
the clerk has finished he will start reading over his shoulder (as if 
looking for the thread of his ideas for the purposes of continuing his 
dictation), all that the clerk has written. Often the most precious in- 
formation will be found thus written down ; as for instance, " you have 
forgotten to search such and such a box," or "the accused is throwing 
uneasy glances towards the fire-place," or even, " it seems to me that 
the person is holding an open knife behind his back " ; all which in the 
ardour of work had been overlooked. 

Further all necessary tools and aids should be kept in continual 
readiness ; these we shall discuss minutely later on. But there are other 
details no less important. Care must be taken to have the means of 
transport quite ready, to be properly equipped for the time that will be 
taken up, and to give the necessary notices to witnesses and assistants, 
as, for example, in an exhumation to the grave digger and the persons 
who will identify the body, etc., so that they may be found on the spot. 
This also applies to experts, municipal representatives, and the like. 
It is almost always a priceless advantage to have with one from the 
outset a representative of the Detective Department. He can be made 
use of in a thousand ways, and many a difficulty and much loss of time 
may be avoided : if nothing else, rogues and idlers must be kept at a 
distance, arrests made, articles and localities watched, necessary in- 
(juiries pursued in the neighbourhood, conversations between accused 
persons and witnesses prevented, houses and persons searched, and many 
other similar details often of decisive importance attended to. 




Section ii.— What to do at the Scene of Offence^^s^-^^°\ 

On arrival at the scene of the crime certain things must be attended 
to which are common to all cases, be they of simple theft, robbery, 
murder, arson, or misdemeanour. The first duty is to preserve an 
absolute calm. With it everything is won, without it everything is 
compromised. An Investigating Officer who lushes about, sets to work 
aimlessly, starts a plan only to drop it, asks everybody useless questions, 
and gives orders only to cancel them, makes a most painful impression on 
those engaged with him in the inquiry and destroys any confidence they 
may have had in his successful management. In such a case, it is all 
up with the zealous co-operation and sustained attention of his assistants. 
But if the Investigating Officer shows perfect confidence with no trace of 
excitement, and acts as with a sure prevision of the results, everyone 
willingly submits to his orders and each does his very best and the result 
of the enquiry is assured. Thus when the Investigating Officer reaches 
the spot, he must beware of speaking at random and starting to do 
something without rhyme or reason. Man indeed is naturally the vic- 
tim of excitement and in the presence of an important event can find 
no better way to control his agitation than by issuing orders wholesale, 
altering them, and at all hazards making things hum. In the same way 
soldiers are more at ease on the field of battle when they can themselves 
join in the actual fighting, fire off their rifles, and make a noise ; but the 
superiority of a company is proved less in the fight than when it is held 
in reserve, observing quietly what is going on, allowing the bullets to 
rain upon it, and watching the wounded carried to the rear. The first 
point is therefore quietly and attentively to take stock of the situation ; 
the Investigating Officer ought to find his bearings, correct if need be the 
impression that he has already formed about the case on its first being 
reported, and modify his plans accordingly. 

These latter considerations are of importance. As soon as the In- 
vestigating Officer is informed about a case it absorbs all his thoughts (or 
at least, ought to do so), he immediately makes a mental picture of the 
case itself and all connected with it, in a definite form, with precise 
outlines ; when travelling to the spot he bases upon this idea his conjec- 
tures as to how the offence has been committed, and builds, upon his 
mental picture of the spot, the plan of inquiry to be pursued. The idea 
may take root in his mind to such an extent that he cannot rid himself 
of it either in part or in whole even when the scene is actually displayed 



before his eyes, and frequently causes him to go wrong in his reckonings. 
For this reason the faults of his first impression must be corrected on 
the spot and his plans and intentions modified accordingly. The scene 
of the crime must then be inspected both in its general aspect and in 
detail and must be considered as far as possible in relation to the facts. 
The time allotted to this close examination is far from being lost and the 
results compensate largely for any apparent delay. 

After this the Investigating Officer must find out the persons best 
able to give information about the case, which will enable him to become 
at least approximately acquainted with its circumstances. If the case 
is one of slight importance or the investigation but an incidental one 
found necessary in the course of the main inquiry, he is already aware 
of what it is all about. But if it is a first inquiry with reference to 
some important crime, such as murder or arson, or some big accident 
such as a railway collision, boiler explosion, etc., he should endeavour 
to find a representative of the authorities, a policeman, a municipal 
inspector, or a person directly interested in the matter, as for example 
a relation of the murdered man, the sufferer by the fire, a skilled work- 
man, from whom to obtain preliminary information. Habit above all 
helps the Investigating Officer in examining people with a view to obtain 
this preliminary information ; he learns little by little not to waste time 
over details, while forgetting nothing of importance ; and however in- 
experienced he will commit no grave mistake if he always remembers 
the old and precious maxim of the jurist. 

Quis, quid, ubi, quibus, auxiliis, cur, quomodo, quando? 

Who, what, where, with what, why, how, when. ? 

" What was the crime, who did it, when was it done, and where, 
How done, and with what motive, who in the deed did share?" 
If these words be always kept prominently before one in one's office, 
they will be impressed on the memory and imagination, and prevent 
many a grave mistake. 

When the information that can be gathered up rapidly has been 
obtained, the next care should be to make a selection among the people 
interested in the case. The Investigating Officer must watch that all 
who have given or who can give information do not go too far away but 
remain on the spot. If possible it is as well to submit the witnesses to a 
certain surveillance so as to prevent them from gossiping uselessly with 
one another. For witnesses and more especially people of little educa- 
tion, women, and children, cannot help discussing the case and the case 



only, and telling one another what they have seen, to such an extent that 
they do not exactly know in the end what each does know, i.e., they mix 
up what they have themselves seen and heard with what has been told 
them by others. 

True, the witnesses may have talked to each other and heard each 
other's stories beforehand, but in every case nothing leads them to talk to 
such an extent and exclusively about the case as their being collected to- 
gether on the scene of the crime in the very presence of the Investigating 
Officer, thus making the affair, as it were, stand out in full relief. While 
taking these measures, the Investigating Officer should attend to the 
preservation, in as complete a manner as possible, of existing vestiges of 
the crime and take care that they are interfered with as little as 
may be; he must at once establish, e.g., w^hether the corpse of the 
person who has been murdered is still in the same position as when the 
crime was discovered, he must distinguish among the marks of foot- 
steps those made before the dicovery from those made afterwards by 
the curious, etc. The exclusion of everything happening after the 
moment when the crime was committed is a very special task for the 
Investigating Officer, all the more so as the most regrettable errors 
may arise from the neglect of it. 

There are known cases where the Investigating Officer has described j 
with the most minute accuracy the position of the corpse and drawn i 
therefrom the most ingenious conclusions, while unhappily the evidence 
pointed out that the corpse had been turned several times by different 
persons before his arrival and had therefore been placed in quite a differ- 
ent position. Again a jacket of rough cloth found on the corpse played 
an important part in the case until the discovery was made that it had 
been simply placed over the body to hide from passers-by the horrible 
sight of a fractured skull. Bayard as far back as 1847 related a case in 
which the physician who was summoned stepped in the blood and then 
walked all over the building leaving blood stains everywhere, which 
subsequently caused so much trouble and confusion as to completely spoil 
the investigation. Here is an instance where the consequences might 
have been much graver. In a case of arson a footprint was discovered 
which undoubtedly corresponded with that of the accused. It was indeed 
his, but it had not been made at the time of the crime, but subsequently, 
when on his speedy arrest he had been taken to the place by a policeman. 

We shall describe yet another case which forcibly points out what 
danger may arise from the introduction into the examination of 


localities, of details which are purely accidental. The story seems almost 
incredible but it is absolutely true and all who were connected with it 
will remember it perfectly well. The extraordinary combination of cir- 
cumstances which characterise it, render it all the more instructive. A 
lady, the proprietress of a factory, in counting out her money, had made 
up five little packets of 1,000 florins in paper and placed them, so she 
believed, in the cash box. Next day she found only four packets there, 
although the cash box was as well secured as it had been the previous 
night. The lady believed that her maid-servant had got hold of the key 
and had removed the packet of 1,000 florins from the cash box during 
the night. This could be done the more easily as the office where the 
cash box was kept was on the ground floor while the living rooms, 
which communicated with the office by a spiral staircase, were on the 
first floor. The maid on being arrested protested her innocence and 
it was only after a search that lasted a week that her trunk could be 
discovered. This trunk was carefully searched in the office of the In- 
vestigating Officer and its contents, consisting for the most part of old 

and valueless articles, were exposed on the table and carefully examined 
without discovering anything suspicious. It was only on lifting up 
the lot a strip of paper was found underneath on the table on which 
was printed besides several letters the words " 1,000 florins in 1 florin 
.notes." It was one of the strips that the Austro-Hungarian Bank was 
in the habit of using for rolling up round sums of money paid out, 
indicating, e.g., "100 florins in 1 florin notes " or " 500 florins in 10 
florin notes " or " 1,000 florins in 5 florin notes." The complainant 
was immediately asked whether the packet of notes of which she had 
been robbed was tied up with a similar strip. She declared that 
she often changed money at the Austro-Hungarian Bank and often 
received her money wrapped up in such strips, and frequently made 
use of them in her own counting house when she counted up her cash, 
but she could not say whether the packet in question had one or not. 
Fortunately the Investigating Officer discovered written on the ribbon 
the date 22/8 in very small and almost imperceptible characters. It 
was established that this date was written by the clerk in the bank who 
had counted out the bundle of 1,000 florins that was wrapped round by 
this particular ribbon, but as the accused was arrested on the 22nd 
August it was inexplicable how this ribbon came among her things. At 
length it all came out. The examination of the trunk took place on 
September 1st in the office of the Investigating Officer, and while it was 




going on, a clerk brought that official his monthly salary. Now lie had 
received the packet of 1,000 florin notes from the bank and after taking 
off the unlucky cover had carelessly placed it upon the table then covered 
by the belongings of the accused. The Investigating Officer and the 
clerk liad not noticed this and so the strip of paper assumed such enor- 
mous importance. But suppose that by some chance the date on the 
strip had been but a few days earlier — w^hich might very easily have 
been the case — there would then have been no reason for searching for 
its 'origin ; a chance which was all the more extraordinary since there 
was nothing against the supposition that the ribbon had passed from tlie 
bank into the hands of the lady and had afterwards been stolen by the 
servant along with the 1,000 florins. A perfectly innocent person would 
thus have been convicted simply because an object which had nothing 
to do with the case had not been eliminated^^^^l 

Section iii. — The actual description of the scene of offenc 


Having established with all necessary prudence w^hat does and does 
not form part of the subject matter to be examined, all connected in any 
way with the case must be definitely ascertained and described. 

In this connection there is one golden and inviolable rule : — Never 
alter the position of, pick up, or even touch any object before it has been 
minutely described in the report. S 

The Investigating Officer must never forget that it very rarely happens j 
to find everything clear and distinct from the beginning. As a rule 
the Investigating Officer has not the slightest idea of what turn the case 
will take, he does not know what may be of importance, or what will be 
denied and therefore have to be proved. At this early stage everything 
may be of importance and nothing too small or insignificant to have a 
decisive bearing upon the case. The situation of an object — an inch or 
two to left or right, to front or back, — a little dust, a splash of dirt easy 
to efface, may all turn out to be of the first importance. The natural 
impulse is to immediately touch any object of apparent significance, as e.g,y 
an object left on the scene of the crime by the criminal. It is laid hold 
of and moved about, and only afterwards is it recognised that the object 
in itself signifies very little but that everything depends on its position — 
which can no longer be fixed. 

Again the involuntary impulse is at first to seize the hands of the 
murdered person to see if there is any hair or scraps of clothing of the 
criminal in them, but it may turn out that some little detail, such as a 

mear of blood upon the hands effaced in seizing them so heedlessly, 
irould have been of much greater importance. Now in order to follow 
he important rule — " never to change in any wg^y the condition of the 
scene before it is described in the report" — it is necessary to make sure of 
the preservation of that condition. Footprints should be protected by 
coverings of little boxes or small planks resting on two or three stones. 
Traces of blood and forgotten or discarded objects should also be carefully 
covered up, especially if they are in the open air and the hour is late, 
and, moreover, lines should be drawn round objects which may be con- 
fused with others (such as foot prints, etc.). When all this is in order 
and everything useless has been eliminated, the report can be commenced. 
No one supposes that a report should be a model of style, but a certain 
grammatical accuracy and logical sequence are indispensible. This is in 
the first place important to the person dictating the report, for he will 
only be able to do good work if he is convinced of the accuracy of what 
he states without having to wait for its confirmation afterwards ; if he 
deals carefully with each point on its own merits and without connecting 
it with those that follow ; and lastly if it proceeds logically and according 
to a determined plan, passing from the general to the particular and so 
avoiding the treatment of the same point twice over. Secondly, the 
arrangement is of importance to the reader, for he will only understand 
the matter clearly if he finds the style of the report lucid and logical. 
Anyone who has perused many such reports knows how difficult it is to 
make use of them when badly drawn up, how little convincing they are, 
or how easy it is to miss important points from the difficulty of under- 
standing what the Investigating Officer intended to express. 

Nor is it very difficult to establish a determinate form remaining 
always the same in its principal features. It will suffice to recall the 
rules laid down for drawing up an inquest report. In all cases a general 
description of the spot must be set out, stating where it is and how it is 
reached. Then state whether it is a house, field, wood, etc., that is in 
question ; next indicate the neighbourhood precisely ; and then describe 
the actual scene in detail, always having regard to its connection with the 
case under inquiry. 

The extent of the description in the first place naturally depends on 
the nature of the crime. In all cases (we are not dealing with accidents) 
the following must be described : — 
i. the place itself ; 
ii. the direction from which the guilty person came ; 



iii. that in which he went away ; 

iv. the spots whence the witnesses have seen, or could have seen 

anything, . 
V. all points where traces of the crime are to be found or where 
they might have been expected to be found, but where in 
fact there are none. 
The notification of even purely negative facts should not Ibe neglected, 
for on the one hand they may lead to positive inferences and on the 
other reassure the reader and show him that they were not forgotten 
altogether. Suppose, e.g., traces of blood are mentioned as having been 
found in the room of a murdered man ; it is not sufficient merely to enu- 
merate these but what has not been found must also be stated as, e.g., 
that there was no bloody water in the wash-hand basin nor any imprints 
of blood-stained fingers — or hands; or if the report concerns a search 
for compromising papers which has been without result, it must be ex- 
pressly stated that no ashes of burnt paper were to be found in the 
fireplace. The special circumstances attaching to each particulai- crime 
must of course be set out, e.g., in cases of arson the objects more espe- 
cially exposed to danger or anything that may have assisted or impeded 
the wind — in riots, places from which weapons have been taken (such as 
a fence, pile of wood, thatched roof of a hut, etc.). 

After the general sketch, the actual place of occurrence must be 
described in detail, as e.g. in cases of murder the room containing the 
body of the victim, in cases of burglary the place where the house was 
broken into, or in arson the place where the fire first started. And here 
a certain order must also be observed. With a room or other inclosed 
space the door should be taken as a starting point and the same direction 
followed as the hands of a clock, i.e., standing in the entrance and facing 
into the room, start from the left hand and go round the room towards 
the right hand ; in this way one will be certain that nothing has been 
forgotten. First describe the size, shape, height, and other peculiarities 
of the space in question. Then go from the entrance towards the nearest 
left corner, then the left-hand wall, then the wall facing the entrance, 
then the right-hand wall, then the remainder of the wall to the right of 
the doorway, and finally the objects in the middle of the room. In 
the course of this description the windows and the doors will be noticed. 
Next describe any alterations in the state of the moveables in the room 
consequent upon the crime in question, damage done by blows, blood- 
stains, changes in the situation or position of objects, damage to windows, 


doors, etc ; and finally a minute description of the subject-matter of the 
crime {e.g., a broken safe, a dead body, etc.) with all the particulars 
necessary to a detailed description. 

In doing this the Investigating Ofticer must proceed step by step 
examining minutely at the same time its description as written down. A 
piece of cloth for instance lying on the ground will be primarily described 
according to the impression it produced when first observed, as e.g. — 
" Quite near the corpse, an inch from the left hand, a red cloth rolled 
up in a ball, apparently of cotton and about the size of a pocket- 
handkerchief, one corner sticking out, lying on the ground in the 
direction of the head of the body. On picking up this piece of 
cloth it is found not to be cotton but half silk. It is a three-cornered 
scarf with hemmed borders and each side 17 inches (43 cms) in 
length. It is unmarked and has a hole in the middle about the 
size of a pie piece probably due to use. Under the scarf is no trace 
of blood or anything remarkable. It is not indentified by anyone 
present, (naming those present, A, B, C, etc.) ; it probably there- 
fore did not belong to the murdered person." 
He then passes on to all the important details that may serve to throw 
light on the case, footprints, marks caused by fire-arms or tools, impres- 
sions of all kinds, in short everything which may have been produced by 
the guilty person, and everything which may have been articles left 
behind by him^^^^^- 

In these sub-divisions as well as in the general preliminary description 
an invariable order must also be rigidly adhered to. The same order or 
direction followed at the beginning must be continued when treating of 
the details. If for example the description of a corpse has been com- 
menced by proceeding from the head to the feet, it is best first to describe 
any important objects found in the neighbourhood of the head and finish 
with those near the feet. In making an abstract of these details a 
measuring rule must as far as possible be used and the distances indicated 
exactly, for one never knows at the time what may be of use subse- 
quently. All expressions should be avoided which only serve to fill 
up a sentence without giving an exact idea of anything. Expressions 
such as " not far from there," "some little distance away," *' a little 
higher," " further behind," '* away at the bottom " ought on no condition 
to occur in a report. That such expressions should be used is easily 
understood, for the Investigating Ofiicer has everything before his eyes 
and such an expression as "quite near" is perfectly clear to him, — but 


the person who has to read the report may have quite different ideas of 
the distances. Anyone who has paid attention to this detail will allow 
that there are few reports where such expressions are not to be found and 
that these very expressions have often rendered it difiicult for him to 
properly appreciate the case. 

The expressions " on the right " and " on the left " may only be used 
when they admit of no ambiguity, as for instance '' on the right hand of 
the corpse " or ''on the left bank of the river." In all other cases these 
words must be totally discarded, for even such expressions as ''to the 
right of the spectator " or "to the left of the entrance " may give 
rise to ambiguity if the position of the spectator is not stated or if it is 
uncertain whether the Investigating Officer is within or without the 
entrance, and in what direction he is facing. But if all this has to be 
stated at length, the description becomes tedious and obscure. There- 
fore, be exact. The points of the co77ipass should be used as far as 
possible to describe the position of objects, for then no doubt can arise 
in the mind and the description can always be checked subsequently. 
But in a building, and above all in a room, it is in certain cases more 
convenient to choose, if possible, fixed points which have already been 
noted down and to state e.g., " on a line extending from the head of the 
corpse to the corner of the room where the fire-place is situated and at a 
distance of two feet from this latter." In this case the distance should 
ivithoiit exception be taken as starting from a point which remains fixed. 
It would not do to say for example " on a line extending from the head 
of the corpse to the corner where the stove is situated and at three feet 
from the head of the corpse," for the corpse will be removed and on 
subsequent measurements being taken it may be difficult to find this 
point again. In addition to this the direction of measurement must be 
in most cases indicated. It is not enough simply to say "at 12 feet 

from the apple tree in question was found " but say "at 12 

feet from the apple tree in question in the direction of the corner of the 
house situated to the north-west " 

This sometimes necessitates a very long description but the Investi- 
gating Officer must not be disheartened by that ; it may be necessary to 
say at length as follows : — " This door, single, not double, is 8 ft. 3 
inches broad. Starting from the hinge side which is towards the north 
and going towards the lock side which is towards the south, measure 1^, 
inches along the bottom where the door touches the floor. From th»l 
point draw a perpendicular to the line formed by the bottom of the closed 



loor and from this perpendicular measure off 7 inches starting from 
le door. At the spot thus obtained was found a piece of watch chain." 
[When the situation of an object is of essential importance the distance 
[inust be fixed by two measurements. This will be absolutely necessary 
bv^here there are, for example, splashes of blood on the wall, from wiiich 
^he position of the accused, or of the person attacked, and the kind of 
blood, may be deduced. In such a case, where a horizontal and a 
vertical are involved, the floor should always be taken as the horizontal, 
for a spirit level would be necessary to lay a horizontal on the wall. The 
vertical may easily be found with the aid of a thread to which a knife, 
stone, or some such object is attached. E.g. for a drop of blood on the 
wall a plumb-line should first be constructed (a line with some small 
heavy object hanging from it), then hold this plumb-line at the point 
where this blood-stain is to be found (taking care not to touch or graze 
it) and make a mark where the line touches the ground. 

Before completing the description of an enclosed space the Investi- 
gating Officer must be well assured that nothing connected with the 
crime has been neglected or forgotten. For this it is not sufficient to 
throw a rapid glance around, but every object must be carefully and 
attentively reconsidered so as to make certain that nothing important has 
been overlooked and to see whether or not, after all that has been done, 
the matter does not bear a different aspect to that which it bore pre- 
viously or some detail which at first appeared to be of no consequence is 
not now of some importance. In a recent case a cigar-holder with an 
amber mouth piece was found near the corpse of a murdered man and 
the marks of the teeth upon it brought about the detection of the 
murderer (see chapter V, section ii, (g) ; " The Teeth "). 

If any independent person who knows the room in (Juestion be near 
at hand he should be sent for and asked to help in the examination of 
the room and its contents. Such a person will be better able to notice 
any changes that may have taken place than the Investigating Officer 
who now^ sees the room for the first time. 

It is impossible to notice everything which may subsequently turn 
out to be of importance even though folio volumes be written, for there 
are always certain details which will be passed over owing to the difficulty 
of foreseeing their value. In one case it turned out to be of great signi- 
ficance to know whether the sun shone into a certain part of the room at 
a certain hour of the day, and for this purpose the locality had to be 
specially revisited though very far distant from the place where the court 


was sitting. In another case everything depended upon whether any 
sand w^as strewn about on the floor of the room, a point that no-one had 
thought it worth while to observe. Such an omission will never be a 
reproach to an Investigating Officer, for only chance would make him 
think of noting down such details ; but it would be a grave fault for the 
Investigating Officer to neglect details of which, though insignificant in 
themselves, the subsequent importance might have been foreseen. The 
old axiom of the Civil Law^ '' Be minimis non curat lex " does not hold 
good for the Investigating Officer. Only too often he must seek the 
strongest proof in the smallest details. Everyone has seen, everyone has 
read in thousands of criminal tragedies, cases where some trifle has 
become the pivot upon which the whole case turned ; and yet the capital 
fault in inspecting localities very often consists in the neglect of small 
details, the importance of which would have been apparent if a proper 
and sustained attention had been brought to bear upon them. 

The following cases are cited from the author's own experience. On 
one occasion everything rested on whether or not at the hour of the 
crime the latch of the door was oiled or made a noise ; on another, 
whether a half burnt cigar was in an ash tray or beside it ; again, 
whether there was a spider's web near a nail in the wall ; on another, 
whether there was still some kerosine in a lamp {i.e. whether it had been 
extinguished or had burnt itself out) ; in a murder case the assailant 
would certainly have gone undiscovered if the Investigating Officer had 
not thought of examining the top of a wooden partition about 8 feet 
in height and not reaching to the ceiling. He saw that the top of the 
partition was covered with a thick coating of dust save in one place 
where the dust had been displaced, and naturally concluded that a man 
must have quite recently climbed over the partition at the spot. He 
made a search and discovered the accused among people living in the 
room separated from the scene of the crime by the partition in question. 

When the description has to be made in the open, the same method 
should be followed. It is distressing to see how badly the work is some- 
times done. In reading certain reports one can clearly see what trouble 
the Investigating Officer has taken in writing down the result of his 
labours and what difficulty he has had in finding a starting point — 
generally the most unfortunate point of all is chosen — how painfully 
he has made his way through his description and how, recognising the 
insufficiency of his work, he has attempted to remedy it by making 
all sorts of conditions, modifications, and explanations, which have but 


served to completely obscure what before had perhaps some approach to 
clearness. For all that, the matter is not really so difficult ; but the 
Investigating Officer must first perceive clearly what the matter is about 
and what is to be described. He must moreover remember that the 
reader will not have the scene under his eyes and cannot therefore re- 
present it to himself in the same way as the Investigating Officer who 
has seen it all ; and he must make up his mind to proceed according to 
a definite plan and not jump about, now here, now there. If he has 
a principle and remains faithful to it, not only will the description be 
comprehensible and useful but his task will be greatly facilitated, one 
thing following from another, and he will not have the trouble of making 
every few lines additions and references which he himself has brought 
about, and of having to face difficulties of his own making. What 
principle to choose will be indicated by the nature of the case ; yet it 
would be well tor the Investigating Oificer before actually commencing 
his work to consider how the case will proceed if he acts according to 
such and such a plan. If he foresees difficulties, he must set to work 
in some other way. 

The systems followed by an Investigating Officer may be divided into 
subjective" and "objective". 

The mode of procedure will be " subjective" where the various objects 
and places are described in the order they presented themselves to the 
Investigating Officer or to the accused himself; i.e., in the order in which 
the Investigating Officer sees them as he comes from a certain direction 
or in following the direction taken by the accused at the times of his 
arrival and of his departure and flight. This method is not always a 
very good one because e.g. the accused may perhaps have come and gone 
on the same side though by different roads. But it is very convenient 
in certain circumstances and especially when it is thought that by this 
method the report will better adapt itself to an enquiry on the spot. 

The procedure is " objective " when the Investigating Officer deals 
simply with the localities themselves without having regard to the 
direction followed, as e.g. beginning at the east and advancing step by 
step towards the west, or by choosing some fixed point such as a street 
or house and advancing from it in other directions as towards a street, 
river, or boundary. 

Let it be repeated that no method can be absolutely recommended 
for every case, the choice must ultimately depend on the case itself. It 
will be easier to decide by first making a sketch plan {ChajJter XII.) 




which should always be made before the written description. With this 
always before his eyes, the Investigating Officer will soon find ovit what 
is the best method to follow in each case. 

Section iv. — Search for Hidden Objects ^'^^^\ 

If one desired to call attention to every place where objects bear- 
ing in some manner upon a case might be found hidden, a list would 
have to be drawn up of all objects situated either in houses or in the 
open air, and large enough to shelter a corpus delicti. There is little 
probability of finding anything of importance if the attention be confined 
to safes, almirahs, beds, boxes, stoves, or chimneys. Absolutely every 
thing must be examined, for there is no place where important objects 
cannot be hidden. The following for example are a few of the hiding 
places discovered by the author or his friends : — the horsehair stufling of 
a sofa, a bird cage, the space between the back of a picture and its 
protecting board, the hole of an old key, the manger in a stable, a pot in 
which soup was actually boiling on the fire (it contained 28 gold coins), a 
prayer book, old boots, a dog kennel, the space between two upright mill- 
stones, wine barrels, a spectacle case, a pill box, old newspapers, a cuckoo 
clock, a baby's clothes ; and on one occasion the criminal himself was 
discovered in a dung heap, a small opening having been made to give him 
air in the side nearest to the stable wall. In India weapons and even 
other objects are constantly concealed in the thatch of houses or sheds ; j 
jewellery and small portable objects are buried, either tied up in a cloth j 
or in an earthernware pot, in rice or grain heaps and in wells. In one \ 
case where a large number of documents, in value about Ks. 50,000, were \ 
stolen, solely for spite, it is understood that they were boiled to pulp \ 
in the caldron used for boiling the cattle food and were then run off 
throuo[h the town drain. 

Moreover the accused himself must always be carefully searched. 
This the Investigating Officer often neglects to do, either out of regard 
for the accused, or from timidity, or some other motive. Certainly 
search is a grave afront to the liberty of the subject, and such a measure 
should only be resorted to after mature consideration and in the last 
extremity, but if resolved on, it must be carried out energetically and not 
only the house but the man himself must be searched. In the great 
majority of cases the hidden object will be found upon him, for everyone 
is naturally inclined to carry on his person suspicious or dangerous 
objects — just as he is wont to carry objects of value — believing they are 


more secure. The task is greatly facilitated if it is known what is to be 
searched for, for then many places where it cannot be hidden may be 
excluded. Unfortunately the objects searched for are often small and 
easy to hide such as money, jewels, papers, poison, — such things can be 
hidden almost anywhere. The presence of the accused may render the 
task easier, for his face and glances often indicate to a keen observer 
whether the search is in a likely place or not, whether the searcher is 
" hot or cold." If objects of some size are sought for and it is ascertained 
that they are not hidden in places easy to be got at, they must be looked 
for in the structure of the building itself. But as it is scarcely ever 
practicable to make a thorough search by demolishing the building, the 
Investigating Officer may employ certain artifices of the simplest kind 
and keep his eyes well open. 

Suppose that the objects have been walled up. It is useless to take 
into account those parts of the wall which can be easily seen, for it is 
scarcely probable that anything is hidden there — at least when there is 
no reason to suppose that the plaster has had time to dry. As a rule the 
walling up is behind mirrors, or boxes, or in cellars, and the place may 
be recognised by the freshness or inequality of the plastering. If the 
place is not found thus and there is still room to believe that the objects 
are hidden in the walls there is nothing else to be done but to knock 
and tap the walls and listen for the hollow sound indicating a cavity, 
noting whence such sound is produced. This work is really quicker to 
execute than might be supposed. The search for a hiding place under a 
wooden floor is more difficult, and, as the floor cannot be completely taken 
up, indications of a recent disturbance must be sought ; and such 
indications do, as a rule, exist. In an ordinary plank, the heads of the 
nails driven into the boards must be examined. When the floor is first 
constructed the nails holding the planks to the cross beams are driven in 
as far as possible so that the heads of the nails are a little below the 
surface of the floor, to prevent the feet from catching upon them. This 
being the case, it is difficult to pull out the nails, especially if the floor 
has been often scrubbed and the nails have become somewhat rusted with 
the wet. With the nails holding so tenaciously to the floor it is 
impossible to extract them without damaging the wood round them and 
traces of such damage cannot be effaced. If therefore the wood round 
the nails appears to be bruised or damaged in any way, it can with 
certainty be presumed that something is hidden in that place. It is use- 
less to lift the planks where no such indications are to be seen. 




A very frequent case, especially in India, is where something has 
been buried in an earthern or mud floor. Here water should be poured 
in fairly large quantities on the suspected surface ; the place where the 
water filters through more rapidly than elsewhere and where at the same 
time bubbles make their appearance, is the place where the soil is broken 
and where digging has been recently carried on. It is the same when 
the covering is of bricks, flagstones, or such like. In time a quantity of 
dust or sand gathers between them which by its own weight and humi- 
dity forms a kind of firm cement. If then water be thrown over this 
paving it sinks in but slowly, being as it were drunk up little by little. 
But if the flagstones, etc., have recently been taken up and laid down 
again and the interstices have been filled up by sweeping in sand or 
dust, which does not as yet hold together like cement, the water will 
penetrate very rapidly and air bubbles be seen mounting to the surface. 

It is always difficult to carry on such searches in the open air. The 
large expanse of space hinders methodical procedure and success must 
often depend on luck. There is one possible expedient when the object 
is to discover a corpse, to make use of a good bloodhound. But it is 
useless to take the first setter or bloodhound that comes along. Few 
dogs have a good enough scent. If the Investigating Officer needs help 
in such cases it will be of little good to him to issue an order for a 
hunting dog, for he is pretty sure not to get one of any use. In this case 
again, as we have said before, preparation for war must be made in time 
of peace. This is the more necessary since helps of this kind are often 
met with when not looked for, while generally not to be found on the 
spot when they are wanted and where, owing to the nature of the case, 
one might have hoped to find them. A tanner was the owner of quite a 
common watch-dog having absolutely no resemblance to a hunting dog, 
but which — out of pure voracity — could even from a great distance scent 
out any carrion. The local sportsmen used to borrow him after each 
shoot, to look for the game killed which had been undiscovered by the 
dogs. The tanner's dog would find anything animal, alive or dead, and 
he would pull up just as quickly before a recently killed deer and the 
body of a cat dead long since ; but he would find both. One day when 
they were seeking the body of an idiot who had disappeared and wdio was 
suspected of having been murdered by his brother-in-law, this dog dis- 
covered the body a long way off in a wood. At that moment it was yet 
possible to establish that the idiot had succumbed to an attack of epilepsy, 
but some days later a post mortem would have been unable to prove that 


no violence had been used and the brother-in-law would have gone 
through life with the suspicion of murder hanging over him. 

But this matter can also be managed in a systematic way. In Paris, 
where every year an astonishing number of people disappear, especially 
children, the police keep dogs which are trained like the bloodhounds of 
Cuba, where they used to be employed for tracking fugitive slaves. In 
such cases some clothes, etc., belonging to the person to be caught, are 
placed to the nose of the dog which is then brought on the trail. If 
this trail is fairly fresh, the dog will follow it without caring for the 
hundreds of other trails crossing the right one until the fugitive is reach- 
ed. A short time ago a dog was mentioned in a Paris paper as having 
succeeded in finding for the police its twenty-fifth lost child. If we 
compare this with the splendid results of the Austrian and German war- 
dogs, it must be allowed that dogs can help us in many cases. We do 
not claim that the state should keep official dogs of this kind, but if a 
policeman or any other official should show special interest in training 
dogs for this purpose, Government should give him some assistance^^^^"^^''^ 
ieve we may also repeat that it is very helpful to study nature. We 
lave mentioned that a considerable number of niurdered people are 
juried in rather deserted places, especially in the jungle ; a great number 
of these are often dug out by jackals and other animals who easily scent 
out such spots ^^^\ When a corpse is not completely covered, it is of 
course easy for dogs or even men to find it. In the Province of West 
Prussia in the summer of 1867 two murder cases were discovered through 
ihe murdered bodies having been uncovered by foxes. Moreover crows, 
ravens, kites, and above all vultures, etc., will at once collect and so it 
is not unprofitable to watch for this sign. The body of a murdered 
woman was once found in the following way : the teachers of the sur- 
rounding schools told the children to report as soon as they saw many 
crows, ravens, etc., gathering anywhere; some of them made such a 
report, with the successful result that the murdered person was traced. 

A ]nost instructive incident arose during the search of a dwelling 
house. A poacher had fired upon a game-keeper who thought he 
■recognised his assailant. The house of the suspected person was searched, 
the principal object sought for being the gun. The search was carried 
3Ut with the greatest care, the house being turned out from top to bottom. 
But no trace of gun or ammunition was to be found, and the inquiry was 
ieclared closed. During the search a heavy rainstorm came on and the 
search party remained in the house waiting for it to stop. The house in 



question was built like most peasant houses. It had a ground floor divided 
by a corridor, at one end of which was the front door and at the other 
the back door, while the doors of the kitchen and living rooms opened on 
to it. The front and back doors, except in winter, remained open all day. 
It was in this corridor the search party awaited the end of the storm. 
The rain coming down heavier and heavier and beginning to come in at 
the front door, they shut the latter and there they found, hanging on the 
inside of the door, which had up till that time been leaning against the 
wall, the gun and a pouch containing powder and shot. 

A similar case (communicated by M. Stelal, Vicar of Glein) also related 
to a poacher. Numerous thefts of game had taken place for some years 
in a certain part of the country and the bell-ringer of a little church was 
suspected. No proof however could ever be obtained, the most minute 
searches in his house being without result. It was only after his death 
that his gun and accessories were discovered hidden under the high altar 
of the church, where no one seems to have thought of looking. 


The work of the Investigating Officer is Hke all other pursuits ; the 
material side, the tools necessar}-, are of inestimable importance. More 
than one great success, more than one great failure, have been due 
exclusively to the fact that, on the one hand, the Investigating Officer 
had ready on the spot all the aid necessary for his investigation or, on 
the other, that he either had no implements at all, or those whicl;i he had 
were defective or unsuitable. 

Perhaps some will consider what follows useless or trivial ; but 
experience has shown that an Investigating Officer who possesses a 
travelling office box or bag, in perfect order and provided with all neces- 
saries, will find his work much facilitated, and will ensure greater speed 
in his labours. Such an outfit has been at times the sole cause of a 
great success. 

First let us consider in detail what is indispensible. 

1. A supply of paper is of course a necessity. This should include 
several sheets of writing paper of the best quality. In an inquiry 
the ordinary Government official paper should never be used, it is 
generally of very bad quality, and you may live to repent employing it. 

2. Several envelopes of various sizes. 
8. Several sheets of blotting paper. 

4. A certain number of all the usual official pri7ited blank for 7ns, as 
inquest reports, warrants, summonses to witnesses, etc. One must not 
wait for the time of starting to put these in order ; they should be 
replenished immediately on the return from each inquiry. With these 
should be carried pocket editions, text only, of the Penal Code, Code of 
Criminal Procedure, and Evidence Act. 

5. A good map of the taluq or district in which one is about to 
travel. To save space it is better to have an unmounted map, as its use 
s comparatively infrequent. 

6. The Investigating Officer will also be provided with pens and 
pencils. These should be of the best quality. Good pens mean quick and 
egible writing, whence economy of time and consequently greater care and 
iccuracy in the inquiry. For steel nibs a good globe or ball-pointed pen 
8 the best, as it does not penetrate or catch the paper, and thus permits 


swift and easy writing. The use of fountain pens is now almost uni- 
versal in India among officials. The advice to be given as to them is, to 
shun cheap imitations by unknown makers. Nothing is more trust- 
worthy than a fountain pen by a reliable maker — everyone has his own 
fancy — but a pen without such guarantee and previous trial should be 
rigorously discarded. 

7. Fo7' ordinary pens a pocket ink bottle is necessary. Care should 
be taken to see that it shuts closely and is re-filled after each investiga- 
tion. The ordinary spring- top cases with indiarubber on the lid to 
seal the bottle are not very satisfactory. In fact all rubber articles 
perish very rapidly in India. For the fountain pen, a Swan Fountain Pen 
Ink-filler should be carried. It consists of a bottle of ink, with a filler 
forming the cork, contained in a cylindrical wooden or metal screw^ top 
case. The ordinary filler can be obtained for Ee. 1 from any dealer in 
fountain pens, and will be found invaluable in travelling. As a reserve 
in case of need, a little nigrosine or ink powder should be carried. As 
this is supplied to and used in every office in India, nothing more need be 
said about it. The " Swan " Ink tablets, which can be had in various 
colours, in Nickel tubes, at 8 as. and Re. 1 are also very convenient. 

8. A yard measure. 

9. A pair of compasses. 

10. A pedometer, though not perhaps indispensible, is most useful; 
it is the shape and size of a watch. If one wishes to measure a long dis- '■ 
tance, one sets the needles on all the dials (units, tens, &c.) at zero, puts ' 
the instrument in the pocket and walks off. For greater certainty one i 
may put the instrument in one's boot, when every step will certainly be 1 
registered. Thus better results are obtained than by merely counting ^: 
paces, while the great advantage accrues that he who carries it can look i 
about him and d-evote his attention to other matters, which is quite <( 
impossible while continually counting. 

11. Tracing paper and cloth. The cloth is useful for removing traces j 
of blood, and in all circumstances when paper is not strong enough. ■ 

12. A bottle of plaster of paris a7id. another of oil. These are mainly I 
of use for preserving footprints and impressions (see Chapter XIII.) 

13. ^ brush. The brush is useful for taking impressions of solid 
objects and surfaces in relief, with moistened blotting paper ; such as 
marks made by a tool, as a chisel, cuts by a knife or hatchet, damage to 
material objects, etc. As to the method of doing this (see Chajjter XIIJ 

14. Sealing Wax. 


15. Two small glass tithes. These are useful for making quickly 
any simple experiment, for instance to see if a substance found in the 
body of a corpse or in the course of a search, be arsenic or not. Arsenic 
is the poison in most common use, hence it is important to detect it 
quickly, as its discovery may lead to an immediate arrest. These test 
tubes should be of clear, thin glass, closed at one end, from three to four 
inches long, and the thickness of a lead pencil, (see Chapter XVI.). 

16. Tico ivax candles of the length and thickness of one's finger 
are often useful. 

17. A compass. 

18. An iron box with matches. If smokers themselves often forget 
their matches ;- how much more careful should Investigating Officers be in 
making sure of being always provided with this indispensable accessory. 

19. A piece of soap. It is a great comfort to have a wash after a 
search, handling dirty clothes, perhaps dirty bodies, etc. Soap is also 
useful to take small impressions, as of keys, teeth (in case of bites), etc. 

20. A good magnifyi?ig glass. This most useful friend should be 
mounted in a broad rim, so as to be protected from scratches, for a 
scratched magnifying glass is worse than useless. 

21. A camel-hair brush. This is useful for oiling footmarks before 
taking the impression and also for removing traces of blood, etc. 

22. Some, gum arable. 

23. Some thick, smooth notepaper. Ordinary paper is too coarse and 
rough for preserving small articles, while glazed paper contains too many 
foreign admixtures. 

24. The office seal. For greater convenience this may be used with- 
out a handle, so that it takes up no more room than a coin, say five 
shillings or five francs, or even a rupee. 

25. A few sheets of manifolding paper. The use of this is too well 
known to require explanation. The best appliance to use when travel- 
ling is a hard and sharp lead pencil. 

26. Some tissue paper. This is handy for taking impressions of fine 
surfaces, as of wood, a stone, etc., where blotting paper would be too 

27. A good loatch. 

For the carriage of all these indispensable accessories, the great majo- 
rity of our readers will have recourse to the time-honoured ''Office box." 
For travelling purposes this is a most cumbersome companion ; it requires 
a special attendant to carry it, the key is usually in some receptacle carried 





by another peon — and they are never to be found in the same place at the 
same time. Its corners are painfully in evidence in country carts, jutkas, 
and such like. Its internal arrangements are generally chaotic and must 
necessarily be so, unless special care has been devoted to them. We 
have seen office boxes fitted up as ingeniously as a lady's jewel case, but 
that is due to the rare idiosyncracy of the owner. 

For those who desire a self-contained receptacle, which can be carried 
in time of need on the person of the owner without inconvenience, we 
strongly recommend a leather bag like a courier bag or military sabre- 
tache (See Plate I, Fig. 1.) This will hold everything required, protect 
the contents from damp, and be easy to carry. Military experience 
shows that if well balanced and resting on the correct spot, which can 
always be found after a few trials, its existence is forgotten after a march 
of a quarter of an hour. It should be about 10 inches long by 8 inches 
broad, divided by partitions lengthways and with an outside pocket. At 
the top two leather loops about 5 inches long should be firmh' sewn, 
through which passes an ordinary belt. The latter must be so adjusted 
that the bag hangs or rests on the top of the left thigh, behind ; there it 
will remain immoveable, even on a quick march. The best fastener is 
by means of a ring passing through a slit in the flap, and secured by pin 
and chain. 

One compartment should be reserved solely for paper, the sheets 
being folded, where necessary, first lengthways and then crossways. 

All the accessories, together with the bag, should then be taken to a 
saddler or binder, who will fix them by means of slips of leather or linen 
on pieces of stout cardboard, the size of the bag, just as is done with 
toilet articles in a travelling bag. These boards can then be slipped into 
the divisions of the bag and withdrawn at will. But we must repeat that 
it should be made a rule to * replenish the bag on the return from every 
journey and not wait until the next setting-out. These sudden starts are 
generally made only in important cases, but it is just in such cases that 
one has plenty to think about and cannot be bothered with remembering 
if all the little necessary articles are in order ; he should be able just to 
take up his bag and be ready. This advice may appear puerile but no-one 
who has once experienced what it is to be without the necessary article 
at the critical moment will so consider it. 

It will greatly assist in keeping the receptacle in perfect readiness, 
have a list of all the articles it should contain legibly written and guminj 
inside the flap of the bag or the lid of the office box. 



Other things may be usefully carried according to the fancy of the 
officer. In particular a few simple medicines should always be handy ; 
early rising, a hot journey, bad food, may always bring on a headache, 
diarrhoea, etc. In these days of tabloids and concentrated medicines 
this requirement is easily satisfied. Antipyrin, chlorodyne, sal volatile, 
and quinine, or better some reliable fever pill containing opium, and a 
few similar common remedies, are easily carried and may make all 
the difference between comfort and misery, that is, between success and 
failure. Anglo-Indian officers accustomed as they are to travelling and 
camping out hardly require a word of advice as to food and drink. But 
when starting away from a camp on an expedition which may last many 
hours, the precaution of taking a few preserved provisions, two or three 
bottles of aerated waters and a fiask of best brandy should never be 
omitted. It seems almost absurd to indite a warning against drinking 
unfiltered water drawn from country wells or tanks, yet w^e have known 
the most valuable lives thrown away by absolute disregard of the simplest 
precautions, and even in spite of specific warning. 

Smokers should always have a few cigars in reserve, for how often 
does not one in his haste forget his cigar case. A i)ost mortem, for 
-instance, is not a very pleasant thing for the mere lawyer, if he cannot 
1 smoke ; even the brandy flask may be a very present help in such 
5 circumstances. 

For the majority of our readers it will be unnecessary to say anything 
Ion the subject of transit, that vexed question for the lawyer when away 
|from railway lines or towns. Every official can rely upon the revenue 
[Authorities or the village officials to provide for him ; for us others, 
[bucksheesh and extortionate charges are all we can fall back upon. 

Starting, however, from centres where there is a fair supply, — and 

|iot being a high placed official with fast-trotting horses, — the traveller 

will find that for a comparatively short journey, where speed is essential, 

[-here is nothing to beat the poney-jutka. (' Jutka ' is the Madras name, 

[)ut similar vehicles may be found all over India.) The best type in 

;50uth India is known as the Vellore Jutka — yet even with it the dis- 

omfort is extreme and the jolting indescribable. Yet they get over the 

'round ; a good jutka poney in fair condition should always be good for 

miles in three hours or a little more. 

When urgency is not essential or when no other means of convey- 
nce can be obtained, the ordinary covered country cart may be made 
lirly comfortable. The best foundation for a bed therein is a thick 



layer of twigs, freshly clipped ; they are better than straw and 
very good spring mattress. Some straw may if desired be spread on 
top, and with a thick rezai or small mattress over all, one can sleep com- 
fortably from sunset to sunrise, covering 25 miles or thereby. Be sure 
to have your bag and reserve provisions and drinks in the cart with 
you, for your attendant carts with servants and impedimenta (saman) 
have a way of getting lost en route and not turning up till long after 
you have arrived at your destination. 

Carry, as a rule, a supply of copper coins. Travellers either give no 
bucksheesh — which leads to dire discomfort, if not worse ; or give far 
too much, being generally thought fools for their pains. A pice here and 
there, especially if given to the real helpers, will work wonders, far more 
than as many rupees given to a headman or an officious loafer. 



Section i. — General Considerations. 

Experts are the most important auxiliaries of an Investigating Officer ; 
in some way or other they nearly always are the main factor in deciding 
a case. True it is that the Investigating Officer whose work lies for the 
most part up-country, has not skilled experts always at his immediate 
disposition, but, in important cases, he is able to refer to experts at head- 
quarters ; on the other hand, experts of even very small value can give 
excellent results ; but everything depends upon knowing how to make 
use of them. Indeed it is often less important to know lolio is to be 
questioned than to know lioic, upon what, and when questions must be put. 
But it is also an important thing for the Investigating Officer to 
know just whom he ought to apply to i.e., what kind of expert he ought 
to select ; moreover he must know what the expert is capable of telling 
him in each case, that is to say, where his knowledge begins and what 
are the natural limits to it ; and finally he must seize the proper moment 
for putting his questions, i.e., the moment when he is in possession of 
sufficient material to render any further research superfluous. He will 
for instance only be in possession of the best information on interrogating 
an observer at the microscope in cases where medical men are incapable 
of enlightening him ; at other times sportsmen and shikaries will be able 
to give him satisfactory replies, where learned experts in arms may fail 
him. In this connection the explanations of the latter may be of little 
use, some special knowledge being required in each case. 

As regards the limits of the expert's knowledge, the Investigating 
I Officer must be particularly careful not to ask too much, for if he were to 
» do so he might look ridiculous ; on the other hand if he does not ask 
enough he may deprive himself of information of great value. A case 
is recalled in which the Investigating Officer desired to know whether 
I the blood stain on a piece of cloth was that of a boy or of a girl ; another 
• Investigating Officer took a stove to pieces and sent it carefully packed 
!' to the chemical examiner with a request to know whether bank notes 
I had been burned in it or not ; and a colleague of the author recently met 
] with a case in which it was asked whether the arsenic found in the corpse 
i could be indentified with that found in a sausage^^'^*\ On the other 


hand every Investigating Officer knows of cases in which the"^oiution 
of problems, seeming to outsiders ahnost insoluble, has been obtained ; 
in this way experts in physics will discover, by a magnetic process, 
traces of iron, where chemical experts have found nothing ; botanists once 
furnished the author with certain proof that some branches of hops had 
been cut with a particular knife. What can be performed with the 
assistance of electricity, the refinements of photography, radio-active rays. 
Bontgen Rays and other acquisitions, is simply illimitable. 

As regards the moment at which advice should be asked, care must 
be taken not to lose too much time ; but knowledge of the circumstances 
attending the crime must be given to the expert. It is often stated that 
the expert has only to occupy himself with the object to be examined : on 
a wound for example being shown to him, he should determine its 
nature, the time necessary for its healing, and say generally what will be 
its consequences ; — but this is not all ; he ought also to tell us the weapon, 
position of the criminal, and mode in which the blow has been delivered. 
The numerous difficulties which such cases present and the number of 
different causes which may produce the same effect must not be forgotten. 
That a conscientious expert is aware of all the circumstances attending 
a crime, has read the depositions of the witnesses, and has seen the 
supposed weapon, etc., is no reason for his coming to a precipitate con- 
clusion ; but, thus informed, it will be possible for him to weigh every 
circumstance, obtain a general idea of the occurrence, and affirm more 
clearly, with more certainty, and, what is very important, less discursively, 
than if the aids in question had been refused to him. It must not be 
forgotten that to-day, in spite of, and perhaps because of, the great 
progress of science, people make statements with much less assurance 
than formerly. One has only to compare books on medical jurispru- 
dence written 80 years ago with those of to-day to see that the writers 
of those days, acting upon a small number of cases at their disposal, did 
not hesitate to state general principles, the correctness of which are now 
much shaken : for experimental science, now much more extensive, has 
found out so many exceptions that in the long run they sometimes 
become more numerous than the so-called rules. 

This principle must be applied to other domains and we must not 
boast of our own knowledge which is always more or less incomplete ; if 
we do not know the exceptions ourselves we have but to demand them of 
specialists. By conforming to this rule vv^e will obtain astonishing 
results. The specialist will refute a well established conviction leading us 


to say " I believe it is always thus," with a series of exceptions in which 
it is not always thus. In a recent case medical experts who on ex- 
amination in the witness box affirmed positively that it was impossible 
lor a cavity to form in lobar pneumonia, when confronted with authorities 
in cross-examination admitted that such a thing w^as quite possible. If 
tlierefore experts themselves may be mistaken how much more should 
the Investigating Officer be unashgLUied to question others upon things 
whicli seem beyond all doubt. Moreover the circle of experts nnist be 
enlarged as much as possible. Some Investigating Officers in many years 
have never made use of any other experts than doctors, analysts, and 
gunsmiths ; it has never crossed their minds to consult workmen and 
artisans of all kinds. They have not thought that they might be able to 
obtain most precious information from such sources. 

The author must confess that he has often had business with experts 

without knowing at the outset what they might be able to tell him. 

He once sent for a cutler and gave him a knife found in the wound of a 

murdered person and asked him whether he could give any information 

about it ; the cutler replied that such knives were only manufactured in 

the north of Bohemia. And this information brought about the discovery 

of tile criminal. A turner pointed out that an article the criminal had 

left beliind must have been turned by a left-handed person ^"*~"^"\ The 

person arrested (who denied the crime) came from a distant town. Search 

was made in that place for a left-handed turner, who, when found, 

identified the accused as the person who had bought the article from 

him. Linguists have indicated the nationality of the writer of a letter; 

a schoolmaster has guessed the age of a bank-note forger, then unknown, 

from the mistakes in writing which he made ; and astronomers have 

given the day in spring which, as regards the evening light, corresponded 

witli a certain day in autumn. In the last case the Investigating Officer 

was able to visit a locality in spring in order to find out if the criminal 

would be able to see, and must have seen, such and such a thing at a 

certain hour on a certain day in the autumn. {See Chapter I, p. 28.) 

k A numismatist was able to play an even more important role as an 

3xpert. A coin with a figure of St. George was found on the scene of a 

srime {on tlie face St. George, on the reverse a ship with Christ and his 

ipsciples) ; a witness was able to swear that the accused owned a coin 

tpich had a ship on one side (he had not seen the other side). The 

^mismatist affirmed that this coin was most probably a St. George 

%m, for there are very few other coins bearing a ship and, besides, 



it was impossible for the accused to be in possession of any of those 

It is self-evident that numerous consultations with specialists have no 
results ; but one must not allow oneself to be disheartened by the 
number of consultations made, nor discouraged by checks in any parti- 
cular case. If one is content to examine and measure accurately the 
instrument of the crime in conjunction with the expert, without going 
any further, the result w^ould be hardly appreciable. If one entered upon 
a fairly long technical discussion with the specialist, especially if he is a 
simple-minded person, and if the case is related and explained to him, 
little by little, much useful information will be gathered in. 

Often quite a series of workmen, etc., will have to be consulted when 
it is believed that some peculiarity is due to a certain kind of skill connect- 
ed with some particular trade. One day for example an important theft, 
extremely skilfully carried out, was committed in the following manner. 
A thief, a former servant of a banker who lived alone, had slipped during 
the daytime into the room next to the bed-room of his old master. The 
thief was aware that the banker was in the habit, before going to bed, of 
locking the door between his bed-room and the room where the former 
was hidden. He therefore resolved to wait until the old gentleman was 
asleep, then slip into the bed-room; take the key of the safe from the bed 
table, open the safe and complete the theft ; which indeed he did. But, 
so as not to be shut out in the room where he w^as hiding, it was neces- 
sary to make the banker believe that he had already locked the door of | 
communication. The thief therefore shaped a small piece of wood to cork ! 
up the slot, or square opening into w^hich the bolt of the lock penetrates, j 
When the banker went to lock the door before getting into bed, j 
the bolt was unable to enter the hole in the door-post, thus producing the I 
same effect as if the door had been already locked ; and indeed, the ; 
banker declared afterwards his belief that he had already locked the door 
without remembering having done so. The door therefore remained 
unlocked and the thief was able to carry out his project ; but he had left 
the little piece of w^ood, which was prismatic in shape, in the slot and it 
was shown to various experts. The first was a locksmith, who very 
sensibly remarked *' the person who made this works more minutely than 
we do ; it was not necessary to cork the hole with so much care, quite 
an ordinary little piece of wood \/ould have done well enough provided 
that it was of the proper length ". A turner was then questioned, whc 
on seeing the piece of wood was of opinion that its workmanship indicated 



a man who knew how to carve. A turner turns but does not carve, and 
so it could not have been a turner who was concerned in the theft. A 
wood-carver was next questioned and he was able by chance to indicate 
an instrument used exclusively by makers of boot and shoe trees. This 
instrument was procured and the Investigating Ofhcer was easily con- 
vinced of the accuracy of the wood-carver's statements, and, on the result 
being communicated to the victim of the theft, the thief was easily found : 
in fact the last servant w^hom the banker had dismissed had formerly 
been a tree maker, and indeed went back to that trade whenever he was 
out of a place. 

It is besides astonishing to note the difficulty which people have, 
especially persons of the working classes, in getting rid of their usual 
manner of working ; it seems quite natural to them and seeing nothing 
out of the way in it themselves they have no fear of discovery. They 
imagine that it appears quite as natural to others ; thus a weaver makes 
a weaver's knot, a miller one like those with which he ties up his sacks 
of flour, a sailor makes a sailor's knot, a fisher a fisherman's knot, a 
butcher makes the same kind of knot as that which he uses to tie the 
cord to the horn of the animal to be slaughtered, and the gipsy who, in 
breaking into a room, fastens the doors to avoid surprises, ties the stick 
which he employs for that purpose with a cord in quite a singular 
manner ^^''^\ Tardieu tells of a case regarding a so-called " artillery 
knot ", and Hofviann, in his Legal Medicine, of a case of suicide of a silk 
worker who used a knot such as he employed in making shawl fringes^^''*^ 
It goes without saying that there are no professional experts in the 
science of knot-making ; the only thing to be done is to question people 
whom one believes to have some special knowledge until the right man 
is hit upon. Cases of this kind are numerous : a new-born child had 
been killed with a knife thrust in the back of the head (at the placo 
where the head joins the spinal column) " in the same way as one kills 
a partridge," said the Mayor, who was an experienced sportsman, and 
indeed the lover of the dead child's mother was a young sportsman. 
In the case of '' Madame Henri " in which a body was found in a sack 
in the river, it was shown by a police officer that the sack had been 
sewn up by a woman and then bound and tied up by a man^^'^'^ 

But if experts are capable of informing the Investigating Officer on 
many points care must at the same be taken not to ask them (and 
especially medical ones) for too many or for too precise explanations. 
The author has no intention of reprobating the ridicule with which the 





Investigating Officer is covered w^ho asks a doctor foolish questions or 
who requests information which cannot, in the present state of science, 
be conscientiously given. He would merely recall the fact that a medical 
man, like all other men, sums up the person who questions him from the 
way in which the questions are put. Profound medical knowledge is 
certainly not required of the Investigating Officer ; but it is necessary 
that his questions be not too absurd ^^^^; it is only too easy for the 
medical man to be placed in such a position that he is forced to ask 
himself how, in spite of all the knowledge he has so laboriously acquired, 
such infantile questions can possibly be answered. If he persist in 
demanding answers which cannot be given to him, not only does the 
Investigating Officer deprive the medical man of all pleasure in his work 
but he also exposes the whole case to an irremediable check. It must be 
repeated that the Investigating Officer has not always at his beck and 
call the medical jurisprudents and experienced professors provided with 
all necessary instruments who are to be found in great cities. He is 
often obliged to work up-country with doctors who are quite young, very 
old, or with little training. They may be the best practitioners in the 
world in general practice but they are not medical jurisprudents in the 
proper sense of the word. Only those who have had long experience of 
them can know what qualities a good medical jurisprudent should have ; 
he ought certainly to be a specialist in all branches of medical knowledge, 
ought to know all the difficulties to be met with, and have special ex- 
perience of criminals. It would not be fair to the medical jurisprudent, 
who represents all branches of medical science, to pretend that any country 
doctor, even the very best, can be a medical jurisprudent absolutely 
worthy of confidence. 

It is for this reason that the Investigating Officer should take care 
not to ask the medical man for too much. It is natural for a man to 
prefer to say " the thing is so " rather than " I do not know " and, some- 
times, the doctor will make precise replies when pressed by an Investi- 
gating Officer, replies which will not bear the examination of science. It 
has been necessary for the best known professors in medical jurisprudence 
to boldly avow : — " We do not know this, nor yet that, and many other 
things besides " — and yet the scientists of former times used to make the 
most categorical statements. Take but a few examples. With what 
certainty did they not use to distinguish ante mortem from post mortem 
wounds? And yet every medical jurisprudent of to-day points out 
most convincingly that the so-called distinctive signs are not always 


infallible. Again medical jurisprudents used to determine very accurately 
the beginning and the end of a gash ol- cut, a point perhaps very import- 
ant in a case of murder or suicide ; modern medical men dare not in most 
instances form an opinion from the mere sight of the wound. And with 
what certainty they used to distinguish betw^een the blood of wounds and 
that of menstruation. Yet it is now admitted that this distinction is one 
which is not to be depended on and which can only be made in particular 
cases. Formerly the possibility of ruptures of the larynx, of precipitate 
birth, and rupture of the umbilical cord in living persons was absolutely 
denied ^^^^K To-day these possibiUties can be no longer doubted. 

Section ii.^Role of the Medical Jurisprudent. 

Of all the experts an Investigating Othcet- has to deal with the most 
important and the most frequently questioned are medical jurisprudents ; 
with them therefore the Investigating Officer should enter into very 
intimate relations. It may be that the relations between the Investigat- 
ing Officer and the medical jurisprudent have no direct value in a 
case ; yet they are of the very highest importance. If they are purely 
professional in the sense that they are exterior, the manner of treating 
the most important and the greater number of cases in which medical 
jurisprudents play a role will be a>\so professional and exterior. But if the 
connection between the Investigating Officer and the medical jurisprudent 
is closer and more amicable by reason of the interest taken in a common 
cause, the mode in which that cause is treated will bear witness to the 
lively enthusiasm and active co-operation of both persons. It must of 
necessity be presumed that the Investigating Officer and the medical 
jurisprudent are interested in their respective professions, for if they have 
no interest in them, they are as much to be pitied as they are unfit to 
render any service whatever: all they can do is to turn to some other 
career. If on the contrary they have zeal and energy, working together 
will encourage their efforts, and their collaboration will considerably aid 
the solution of the problem. 

The author always recalls with a feeling of thankfulness a deceased 
friend who was like himself attached to a large provincial court ; he, as 
District Medical Officer and medical adviser to the court and the author 
as Investigating Officer ; we worked 5 years together and settled not a few 
cases. Many of these cases necessitated journeys of some distance, not 
one of which was made without freely discussing the case in question 


and obtaining from a medical-legal point of view every possible explana- 
tion concerning it. The cases in which he took part were considered 
common property and one as much as the other used to do his best to 
throw light upon them. It is impossible to imagine how work was 
stimulated, what lessons were obtained for the future, how the task was 
lightened, and, the author does not hesitate to say, what success crowned 
this collaboration. Neither the Investigating Officer nor the medical 
jurisprudent, especially the latter, can, do good work if the relations be- 
tween them are not close and intimate. To the advantages indicated 
above, another must be added ; it is thanks to these relations that the 
Investigating Officer can more easily learn to know the occasions when he 
ought to consult a medical man. In many cases he neglects to question 
an expert even when the latter may be able to furnish him with im- 
portant information ; the reason being that the Investigating Officer is 
incapable of exactly appreciating the extent of the knowledge the expert 
or medical man possesses. This is a difficult thing to learn profession- 
ally but it is easily learned privately. 

In cases into which medical knowledge enters the medical man must 
always be questioned even when the solution of the problem appears to 
surpass the limits of human knowledge : e.g., when a long space of time 
has elapsed since the commission of the crime. Thus Liman relates 
that from the corpse of a man so extensively decomposed that it had 
become black and green, it was possible to determine by the condition of 
the heart that death was due to a stroke of apoplexy and that in conse- 
quence the man must have died a natural death. The same professor j 
reports that the bones of King Dagobert which were disinterred at i 
St. Denis twelve hundred years after his death were so well preserved ' 
that it was possible to observe every mark of violence committed on his 
person <i82-i83) 

We may also mention the six thousand skulls contained in the crypt 
of the St. Florian Convent near Ems in Upper Austria. They date 
from an unknown battle which is supposed to have taken place towards 
the end of the great migration, and are so well preserved that historians 
have been able to determine, from the wounds upon them, the shape 
of the weapons of the period : e.g., one skull bears a wound made by 
an arrow which (See Plate J., Fig. 2) could have had only one sharp 
edge ^^^\ It goes without saying that such old facts as these can 
scarcely be of interest to the Investigating Officer but they prove that 
it is never too late to furnish proof of some particular fact ; a medical 


jurisprudent ought always to be questioned before hazarding such an 
assertion ^^^\ 

We now pass to the role of the medical jurisprudent in particular and 
will first speak of the manner in which he must be utilised. 

A. Cases relating specially to Medical Jurisprudence. 

To this category of cases belong post mortem wounds, illnesses, offences 
against morality, shamming or malingering, questions concerning the 
force and skill required for and the age of certain acts, and a great 
number of other questions which crop up every day. Practice alone can 
teach us what are the questions themselves and the way to attack them : 
and if in the course of time one has succeeded in reducing the number of 
these questions, one notes that it is precisely the good information obtained 
from the medical jurisprudent to which that reduction is due. Let us 
be content with a prudent reply, a little vague rather than too precise ; 
but let us question the medical man in all cases where there is room to 
suppose that he can see further than an outsider. If one accepts a 
hypothetical reply from the medical man, one will know that he has 
replied in that manner on purpose, especially if, later, one comes to the 
conclusion that his answer could not have been more definite. Between A 
and not-A there is more than the whole alphabet although each letter may 
have its own importance; the medical man should therefore not be pressed 
and should be allowed sufficient time ; when he examines a wounded man 
on the first occasion he is not perhaps quite sure what to say, — allow him 
a second or even a third examination. One is certainly less exposed to 
mistakes when the medical man draws up no report at all, than when, 
pressed by the impatience of the Investigating Officer, he makes a report 
which he would have drawn up quite otherwise if the wounded person 
had been submitted to him for a second examination after a sufficient 

This is still more true as regards post mortems ; if the medical man 
can say nothing immediately, he must indicate the investigations to be 
made to complete what the post mortem has brought to light ; we repeat 
that it is incorrect to say that the medical man has but to pronounce 
upon the actual situation and that the investigation has nothing to do 
with him ^^^^ ; the medical man only sees in a medical examination or in 
a post mortem, the result and, in many cases, he hardly occupies his mind 
with the means that have brought about that result. 


The number (> may as well be the product of 2 and 8 as the sum of 
3 and 8 or 4 and '2, etc. ; so in most cases it is the manner in which 
the circumstance has come about that is the important thing, and the 
medical man can after all only arrive at a conclusion if he has read the 
brief. Besides there is no fear that this knowledge of the case may 
beguile him into error, for he know^s the result and if, by chance, the 
indications contained in the papers he has read lead him on to a false 
path he will always have a constant check in the fact itself ; he will 
indeed perhaps be able to point out inaccuracies in the statements of 
the witness to the Investigating Officer. The interrogatory and the 
inquiry are one. Each completes the other and, if the medical man 
knows that the Investigating Officer is not so foolish as to require 
from him mathematically incontrovertible replies, the knowledge he- 
may possess of the facts of the case will induce him to make a prudent 
statement rather than draw up a hasty and precipitate report ^^^'^\ 

Besides those cases in which the Investigating Officer necessarily 
requisitions the assistance of the medical man, there are others in which 
he may be of assistance. We will now mention some of these. 

B. Preservation of parts of a corpse. 

It often happens that a corpse cannot be identified on account of 
decomposition being too far advanced and neither the structure of the 
body nor the articles of clothing, etc., found on the deceased showing any 
peculiarity to aid identification. And yet the identification may perhaps 
in certain circumstances be of the greatest importance ^'^^\ Let us- 
suppose e.g., that we wish to establish that a corpse is really that of a 
man seen two weeks before in an hotel ; no one knows him, but the wit- 
nesses state that they would be sure to be able to recognise him on 
seeing the features. They cannot remember, e.g., his clothing, and they 
do not recollect having seen his watch or pocket-book, etc., they cannot 
say whether he had a particular cicatrix on the thigh, or other exterior 
marks of identification. But if his features are so disfigured by de- 
composition that no man is able to recognise them, the medical specialist 
must be asked to carry out the " regeneration process " described by 
Professor von Hofmann. 

Professor von Hofmann says ^**^^ : — 

'* The head is cut ofi', the brain removed and several deep cut's made 
in the back and sides of the head; it is then placed in pure run- 


ning water. In twelve hours time the green colouring of the skin 
of the face will for the most part have disappeared or have got 
blanched, and the sweUing greatly diminished; the top of the skull 
is then replaced and the skin of the head sewn up again. The 
head is then plunged into a concentrated solution of alcohol. After 
another twelve hours the green colouring and the swelling of de- 
composition will have so completely disappeared that the face will 
finally assume its normal condition and present the appearance of 
a corpse newly embalmed. Instead of the above solution, chloride 
of zinc may be employed with equal success. Of course the pos- 
sibility of reconstructing a face has its limits, especially when the 
hair has already fallen off and the skin of the face begun to be 
per.f orated with holes — in such a case nothing can be done." 
This process is all the more valuable in that the head when rendered 
recognisable may be preserved, at least until the hearing of the case, 
and may be again shown to the witnesses. Attention has been called to 
it here as it is probably unknown to many medico-legal men up country 
though it is often necessary to make use of it. Two things should be 
mentioned : firstly, when recourse is had to this process in localities 
where running pipe-water cannot be obtained (and this happens more 
often than not), all that need be done is to plunge the head into some 
stream or flowing river, taking care to do so on some spot wiiere con- 
tamination to the water will not be a source of danger ; but in this event 
precautions must be taken to prevent the head being damaged by the 
animal life of the water (such as fish, etc.,) which may in a single night 
destroy nearly all the skin, — thus causing the loss of all our trouble. 
A box of convenient size may be pierced on its four sides with four 
large holes and covered with thick cloth, or better still the netting of a 
very fine sieve : the water will then enter and leave freely and even the 
smallest animals will be excluded. 

Secondly : — There cannot be in these days (even in India) many 
places so isolated that the chloride of zinc cannot be procured during the 
twelve or fifteen hours the head is in the water ; it can be found at any 
dispensary or even in the nearest bazaar and one or other ought to be 
easily procurable within the requisite time. 

For forensic purposes formalin is also very useful. It acts like 
spirits of wine but with much stronger effect. It may be used both for 
preservation and disinfection. It completely removes the smell of a 
' corpse in a very advanced state of decomposition (i9o-i96) 



A preserving solution given by Benshurg is also good if it really does 
what is stated of it. It is said to be not only antiseptic but preserves 
the colour of the remains, and, even after years, remains preserved with 
it are said to be quite fresh ^*^''~^^^\ 

In wounding cases preservation of pieces of bone is of equal import- 
ance. It is even often necessary to preserve bones of people not yet 
dead ; when e.g., splinters of bone (generally bones of the head and the 
tubular bones) have been abstracted either by operation or in the course 
of healing. The medical jurisprudent must always attend to the preser- 
vation of such pieces of bone as they may sooner or later form material 
for conviction. When the wound has caused death it is especially 
necessary to preserve such pieces of bone and in most cases the wound 
is to the skull. The damaged skull itself should he most ■ carefully m 
preserved^^^\ Wounds will be much better seen upon a prepared and 
macerated head than upon one still covered with bloody skin and scraps 
of flesh which render observation extremely difficult . If the head be 
neat and clean, it may be taken in the hand as often as necessa,ry, ac- 
curate and minute measurements can be taken, and even experiments 
may be made with the view of determining the instrument employed. 
Moreover if new information be obtained the skull may always be re- 
examined to more advantage than when the inquest took place. Finally, 
the damaged skull may play an important role at the trial itself and may 
be the means of proving the innocence or guilt of the accused. 

Two remarks should be made : — In University cities it is the business 
of the laboratory attendant to look after the maceration and preparation 
of the bones which may be seen heaped pellmell in the water troughs and 
upon the drying shelves. The assistant is even allowed to prepare what 
may be, from a legal point of view, an important skull. But the Investi- 
gating Officer should on no condition tolerate this ; for small splinters of 
bone may be lost, new wounds made, or bones mixed up, or even the 
whole corpus delicti itself may be lost. It is the Investigating Officer and 
the official expert who are responsible for the identity and integrity of the 
corpus delicti ; the laboratory assistant is in no way responsible. The 
corpus delicti loses all its authentic character and demonstrative value if 
it leaves the hands of the Investigating Officer or the expert ; the Investi- 
gating Officer ought therefore to insist upon the manipulation of a skull 
being made either by the expert himself or, if by one of his servants, then 
under his direct supervision, and such work should never be executed 
contemporaneously with any other work. 



Secondly, as regards the manner in which skulls should be mended ; it 
is very instructive to gather and carefully put together all the parts of a 
skull in fragments. On the one hand one acquires the conviction that 
no piece is missing ; on the other one may observe how, in what direction, 
or with what instrument, etc., the wound was given. The author 
remembers the effect produced on one occasion upon the jury by a medical 
jurisprudent in showing them a skull which seemed quite intact. He 
had carefully gummed cigarette papers over it, then, with a slight pressure 
of the hand, he broke it into a thousand pieces, just as it had been 
smashed by the blow it had received : that is the way a wounded skull 
should be put together for demonstration to the jury ; it is an incorrect 
)rocess to join the pieces solidly. The author once saw a skull which had 
)een broken into a quantity of little pieces by the head of a hatchet and 
[carefully struck together by the laboratory assistant with the best fish glue; 
neither the fractures themselves nor the direction of the sutures could 
longer be seen. And the worst of it was that it was impossible to remedy 
the mistake, for the glue refused to melt even when steeped for a long 
time in water. 

As has been sta>ted, splinters of hone ought to he put hack in their 
place and held together on the inside tvith very fine gummed paper. 

Prof. His^^^^^ gives a method of reconstructing faces which, if proved 
to be good, must be very important. Working with the skull of Johann 
Sebastian Bach he averaged the thickness of the flesh on the human 
face and covered the skull with a coating of plaster of Paris of that 
thickness, and is stated to have produced a face quite like that in the por- 
trait of the composer. 

The importance of this lies in the possiblity of thus identifying a 
murdered person. But as the thickness of the flesh on the head varies, it 
is doubtful whether it would succeed in all cases. If the age and sex of 
the person are known these may be taken into account and success is 
possible if there be a suspicion of whom the skull belongs to, for then on 
reconstruction some one may see a likeness ; but a person who knows the 
suspected victim should not perform the operation, as he might un- 
intentionally force the features of that person into the face he was 

Certain hints regarding age and sex may nearly always be found from 
an anatomical examination of the skull. 

In conclusion we must point out the danger of attempting to identify 
solely by means of clothes, dress, and papers found on a corpse. There 




are many known cases in which such articles have been employed ^ 
purposely to mislead the Investigating Officer (206-208) m 

It is always good to hand over a head to a medical man for pre- 
servation in formalin (formic aldehyde solution) or spirits of wine, etc. 
That it is important to be careful in identifying corpses is proved 
by many mistakes which have been made — even by wives of their 
husbands, etc./^°^\ 

In cases of corpses swollen out by drowning, the corpse of a thin 
old man has often been taken for that of a stout young man, (see also 
Sec. iii (c), ''Hair'')' 

C. Tattooing. 

Tattooings which exist or which have existed on the bodies of living or 
dead persons may be very important in determining identity ; they must 
therefore be examined and described in detail. Let it also be stated 
that attention must be paid to tattooings which are no longer visible ; 
there is no doubt that they may disappear from view ; they fade aw^ay 
either through lapse of time or, if the work has been badly done or 
unstable colours have been used, even after a short time. They may also 
be made to disappear artificially by submitting them to the corrosive 
action of an acid, especially indigo extract (indigotin disulphonic acid), 
{Parent Deuchatel) . 

Dr. Variot (210—211) mentions a device whereby nothing but a scar 
is left ; the application of a paste containing salicylic acid and glycerine 
(for about a week's time) will make the tattoo mark disappear ^212) 
Another method has lately been suggested as the best ; a strong solution 
of tannin is put on the tattoo mark which is' then treated with a needle 
in the same way as in tattooing, and finally a strong solution of nitrate 
of silver is used. Tardieu also tried the following : acetic acid and fat, 
then potash, hydrochloric acid, and finally solution of potash. But the 
result of all these methods must always be that a scar however slightly 
visible will be left. 

If for some reason or other one suspects that tattooing now^ invisible 
has existed upon the body of a living man, the medical jurisprudent should 
be asked to carefully examine the place where, thanks to some indication 
or other, we may hope to find it or failing such hint the places where 
tattooing is most usually found (forearm, breast etc.) If it has been 
artificially removed, even the naked eye will discover very noticeable 
cicatrices, the form, size, etc., of which are easily described. 


In regard to the time which tattooing takes to disappear Caspar Liman 
says ^^^^\ that even on old invalids he found the marks clearly to be 
noticed after 40 or even 50 years. Amongst 36 tattooed persons he found 
2 with the marks faded, 2 half, and 4 completely disappeared. A similar 
comparison is given by HiUm^^^^\ who found among 3000 invalids more 
than the sixth part (506) tattooed. Tardieit^^^^^ found even more striking 
numbers ; as the people he examined mostly had used chalk, 96 % of the 
tattooed marks had not vanished. The materials employed will disappear 
in the following order, cinnabar, gun-powder, washing-blue, ink ; chalk 
mixed with lampblack will keep longest. 

About the age of the tattoo mark in general not much can be said. 
The scar after the operation is soon healed and does not change much for 
a long time. More or less strength in the colouring does not prove any- 
thing. A fresh tattoo with little pigment and an old tattoo with much 
pigment look nearly alike, but when the tattooing has been performed can 
rarely be laid down afterwards. Only in a few cases can one judge this, 
i.e., if a child has been tattooed on the back, the design will lose its form 
as the child grows up, the same will happen with a circle tattooed on the 
arm of a strong young man, as he becomes old ; the mark of the inocula- 
tion will often move far away from its original place as years go on. 
Lately a young American girl was shown in many European centres 
with beautifully tattooed designs over the whole body. These were 
certainly genuine and interesting, but it was false to state as was done 
to the audience that her father did them when the lady was a child, 
as the designs would have lost their correct forms and become irregular 
and distorted if they had grown with her. 

In some cases this circumstance might be important, if the age of the 
tattoo mark is desired to be ascertained. 

If the tattooing has disappeared naturally the medical man will in most 
cases be able to discover, with a strong magnifying glass, the cicatrices 
in the form of pricks or marks of a needle, or stitches. In many cases 
these cicatrices are so well preserved that it is easy to reconstitute the 
whole design ; this reconstitution is rendered easier if the part of the skin 
in question be vigorously rubbed with some colouring matter such as ink, 
lamp-black, or oil, etc. ; the colouring matter will adhere better to the 
cicatrised places which, becoming blacker than the other parts of the 
skin, causes the tattooing to show up niistinctly. 

I In proving the existence of tattooing upon a corpse the same method 
is followed ; we have even a further important proof in cases where it has 



disappeared long before. As Follin, Markel, VircJioio, and others point 
out, the small colouring particles penetrate as far as the lymphatic 
glands nearest to them, where they remain and go no further ; they 
lodge for preference in the periphery of the gland and on enlargement 
may be observed as much in the whole gland as in certain sections of it. 
They can, naturally, be better seen through the microscope, but the 
cinnabar so often employed as colouring matter looks reddish when rays 
of light fall upon the gland and has a black aspect when they traverse 
it (see Hofmann). The examination of the gland should in such cases 
be ' always made by a medical man. It must also be remarked that 
tattooings upon wet corpses and upon mummified and dried up corpses 
are not easily recognisable ; in the first case the parts of the skin in 
question must be taken off and dried and in the second they must be 
soaked in water. 

Let us now call attention to the general importance of tattooing. 
It is not necessary to go as far as a number of specialists (216-241) m^ch as 
Marro, Macassagne, Batut, Salillas, Drago, Ellis, Greaves, Bergh, etc., 
who, following the example set by Lombroso in 1874, consider tattooing 
the characteristic sign of habitual criminals. Be that as it may, tattoo- 
ing is very important ; Kurella ^^*^^ has clearly demonstrated this in 
finding tattoo marks upon 14 per cent, of his subjects. 

It may be laid down as a general proposition that tattooing is almost 
exclusively met with among people of an energetic disposition, a disposi- 
tion already revealed in the career such people have chosen. Tattooing 
will generally be seen upon soldiers, sailors, butchers, fishermen, wood- 
cutters, smiths, etc. ; rarely on tailors, weavers, or waiters. Not only 
can energetic people better support the pain caused by tattooing, but 
their character leads them to the display of something uncommon and 
difficult of acquisition. In this connection sexual sensuality plays an 
important role, why it is difficult to say ; but the motive seems to be 
that strong and sensual natures find pleasure in placing their bodies on 
view ; they admire their own persons and love others to admire them 
also ; it is for this reason that among persons of the feminine sex 
tattooing is in Europe generally only found among prostitutes ; though 
it should be noticed that women of the cultivating classes are also 
frequently tattooed ; in Bosnia for instance a girl or woman of the 
catholic peasant class is seldom to be found without it. It mostly con- 
sists of a more or less decorated cross on the forehead, the chest, or the 
Upper part of the arm ^^®\ 


A curious circumstance is mentioned by Mashka ; he examined all 
prisoners before and after the period of detention and found that most 
of them were not tattooed before but only after leaving the prison, this 
shows that the chief reason is the tediousness of the incarceration. Also 
Giuiter asked 24 tattooed persons for the reason of undergoing this 
operation, and the reply in nearly all cases was — tediousness or imitation. 

If we add to what we have stated that this rude body toilet is found 
chiefly among common people {Lomhroso says among people of Celtic 
origin) we shall have collected all that concerns tattooing among crimi- 
nals. We will be able to conclude that we only meet with tattooing 
among people of energy such as murderers, hooligans, house-breakers, 
etc., and on the other hand among people of a sensual nature such 
as bullies, sodomites, ravishers, and others who commit crimes against 
morality, but not among cheats and thieves. It should further be noted 
that the simple and honest man is content with certain characteristic 
figures ; the sailor carries an anchor or dates and initials ; soldiers, swords 
or rifles ; the butcher, crossed axes, etc. ; and the tattooing is generally 
placed on the inner aspect of the right forearm. A grosser and less 
honest nature is not content with that ; it adorns itself with allusions 
to its crime or signs of vengeance, accompanied with resigned or frivolous 
indications of its probable end, {e.g., " le bagne m'attend " or a gallows, 
etc.). If the person is by nature of obscene imagination it is revealed by 
the character of the design or by the place in which he is tattooed (the 
sexual parts or the buttocks). 

Now it is very natural that among people of gross and energetic 
natures and doubtful morals many criminals exist. If therefore many 
criminals are tattooed it is that the same reason (natural grdssness and 
immorality) has produced two effects, tattooing and crime. In this 
lies the whole correlation existing between tattooing and a criminal ; 
but it is none the less indifferent to us and every tattooing upon a 
prisoner ought always to excite our interest. 

That not only criminals and those of criminal instincts tattoo them- 
selves is shown by the fact that to-day among the young English nobility 
tattooing is the height of fashion. This is not done in the usual way 
with hot needles, but by professional artists with the help of electrical 
apparatus (the galvanometer system). 

The age of the custom is shewn by the fact that B. Karl Blind 
seeks to prove that the old Germans paid homage to this custom and it 
was a sign of the nobility. In 787 a law was passed in Northumberland 




against this heathenish custom. See also " Tractatus de superstitionihus" 
by Magister Nicol, 1405 ^^^'^ in which he declaims against this custom of 
"pricking", as a superstitious and forbidden practice. 

D. Mental affections. 

A question, the value of which is not sufficiently appreciated, is to 
know in what cases the Investigating Officer is morally obliged to submit 
an accused person or an important witness to medical examination or 
observation. It goes without saying that a furious madman, idiot, or 
person of undoubted melancholic character should be placed in the hands 
of the medical expert ; this indeed has been done for centuries. But the 
progress of mental and legal science demands now^-a-days that atten- 
tion also be paid to mental maladies which an outsider is incapable of 
recognising ; care must be taken that people who are really ill be not 
punished for acts committed in an access of madness. It is only by the 
most minute attention and the most conscientious strictness that we are 
able to avoid those terrible errors formerly committed when numbers of 
weak-minded persons were punished on the ground of their perversity 
or monstrous infamy. 

Such cases are as difficult to deal with as they are sad to think of and, 
everything considered, the mental condition of every accused person and 
every important witness who makes a statement must be examined^^^^^ 
Reasons of convenience and the exigencies of time and money alone pre- 
vent us from making the obligation to have medical examinations in every 
case a statutory one ; but if it is impossible for this to be done, science, 
conscience, and humanity order us to act with generosity when the 
least doubt of the responsibility of an accused person for his acts arises ; 
to study our man carefully when his mental condition appears suspicious ; 
and not to refuse to allow his re-examination by doctors even when they 
have already declared perfectly sane a man whom we believe to be some- 
what wanting. When a jurist makes a mistake upon a medical question 
— and it is not impossible for him to do so — and he has interrogated a 
lunacy doctor without obtaining any result, his conduct can only do 
honour to his conscientious scruples ; every medical man will tell him 
that it is far from easy, even for a specialist, to decide whether an indivi- 
dual is sane or not ; every honest man will be of opinion that it is better 
to examine, from the point of view of their responsibility, many sane 


people than punish a single person who is rendered irresponsible by 
mental illness. 

Looking into the matter more closely we find that here again the 
Investigating Officer ought to be something of an expert and consider and 
observe to a very considerable extent. He ought at least to be sufficiently 
informed to know, without committing absurd blunders, when a medical 
man ought to be consulted. It will therefore be for him to come to a 
certain preliminary decision which will set the case going. If the In- 
vestigating Officer calls in medical men, the responsibility is upon them ; 
but if he thinks right not to interrogate them, no one else is likely to do 
so for him and the Investigating Officer alone incurs the whole responsi- 
bility. But the Investigating Officer who desires to act conscientiously 
and spare himself severe remorse in after life, will be tempted to order 
too many medical examinations rather than too few ; and in order to 
limit himself and not demand superfluous examinations he will find 
himself obliged to acquire a certain amount of expert knowledge on his 
own account. This it must be confessed is no easy thing ; but speaking 
generally the functions of an Investigating Officer are not easy and the 
difficulty of his profession consists precisely in the obligation to acquire 
as he goes on a mass of knowledge of which he is completely ignorant at 
the outset. 

The ways of procuring the information the Investigating Officer 
requires in this connection are numerous. Above all he should study 
quite a number of treatises on medical psychopathology ; the subject 
seems a perplexing one at the outset but after a while the difficulties 
begin to vanish, especially if one has the good fortune to fall in with an 
expert who is willing to point out the most useful books and assist in 
smoothing over the worst obstacles. But the knowledge so acquired 
would be a dead letter if one were to stop there ; the Investigating Officer 
who takes his profession seriously should attend a course on mental 
diseases at some medical college. It is only by seeing and studying the 
demonstration and explanation of different cases in relation to every 
subject that he will become capable of making use in practice of what he 
has imbibed from books ; only then will he really be able to understand 
the phenomena described. Even the best books are incapable of giving 
the reader an exact idea of what the author means when he uses phrases 
to express varying degrees of intensity with regard to any particular 
phenomen. Such phrases as '* a wild look," "incoherent speech," **slow 
thinking " and other similar expressions convey to a person who has no 



acquaintance with such pecuHarities, either too much or too Httle. He 
takes the troubled look of a sane person which is of no consequence for a 
''wild look ", worthy of mistrust, or else he imagines the expression to 
imply a horrible rolling of the eyes, etc., while the real wild look, the 
psychopathological look, seems perfectly normal to him. The truth in 
such a case can only be pointed out by a lunacy doctor and with li\dng 
subjects ; books alone are insufhcient. 

The most instructive cases for the Investigating Officer are those 
which he has had to elucidate himself; in such cases he is able to see the 
manner in which the doctor examines the patient, he can gather infor- 
mation upon a mass of things, and finally he considers the report the 
expert has drawn up. If he scans only the last lines of this carefully 
composed certificate for the sole purpose of finding the word mad or the 
words not mady the reading of the report, or for that matter of a thousand 
reports, will teach him absolutely nothing. But how easy it is for him 
to learn something ; the report treats of the case w^hich he has managed 
from the start ; he had to deal with the patient when he believed him to 
be " sound, " he remembers how the first traces of suspicion came into 
his mind, he knows what he himself thought of the case in general and 
all the symptoms in particular, and now he has the expert's detailed 
report in his hands ; in it he sees described and scientifically explained 
the observations he has made as an outsider, and is thus enabled to 
correct his opinion. If certain details still remain obscure and doubtful 
it is possible for him to procure enlightenment and information from the 
expert ; and his own judicial experience will at least show him how he 
ought to go on with the case. He must be able to say afterwards that he 
has minutely observed the patient, carefully studied the report, asked the 
expert for explanations, and read certain cases in point in special books. 

As a basis for such studies the work of Professor Krafft-Ehing 
^^Fundamental Principles of Criminal Psychology for the use of Lawyers'' 
cannot be sufficiently recommended. Every Investigating Officer should 
have this book by heart before entering upon functions so full of respon- 
sibility as his are (2S2-288) 

Well known specialists have essayed to facilitate the Investigating 
Officer in dealing with the cases where he ought to consult a medical 
jurisprudent : to this end they have enumerated the distinctive charac- 
teristics of mental derangement, characteristics easy of observation and 
capable of making even a person who is not a specialist in mental 
diseases suspect a mental affection. According to Casper Liman the 


medical man should always be consulted in cases in which the following 
characteristics appear : — 

1. Hereditary dispositions, where it is known that the parents or 
family or relations of the family (including children) of the individual 
are or have been attacked with mind troubles. 

2. Wounds affecting the brain (wounds on the head), severe illnesses 
accompanied with brain complications, such as puerpual fever, brain fever 
from over-study, etc. 

3. Nervous diseases, epilepsy^^\ hypochondria, hysteria, etc.,^^""^^^\ 

4. Alcoholism. 

5. Various maladies of the body (headache, insomnia, giddiness, 
cramp, paralysis, delirium tremens, etc.). 

6. Hallucinations. 

7. Visions. 

8. Enfeebled intelligence. 

9. Periodical return of certain phenomena. 

10. Peculiar bearing. 

11. Extraordinary manner of writing. 

Professor Krafft-Ehing mentions several points which might lead us 
to consider a man sane when he is really not so '- — 

1. A madman's act may have a motive just as well as that of a per- 
fectly sane man. 

2. The fact that the action is an isolated one in the life of its 
author can only allow of practical conclusions in an abstract way. 

3. Premeditation, cunning, and prudent calculation are not incom- 
patible with insanity. 

4. Nor are consciousness of guilt and responsibility for it. 

5. Nor even repentance after the act. 

6. The insane person may speak perfectly rationally. 

7. Even in madness there is method and logic. 

Besides thi^ he gathers together important particulars of which notice 
must be taken in considering mental affections, such as the antecedents, 
the report of the crime, the complaint, drunkenness, knowledge of the 
act, the manner of its commission and accessory circumstances not in 
direct conformity with the object of the action, e.g., a particular exhibition 
of cruelty, useless acts of destruction, etc. Moreover the alleged crime 
must be particularly examined objectively when it is a case of spontaneous 
confession made by a man of melancholic and reserved temperament, for 
such confessions may themselves be false. 



There is room to suppose that a person is mentally diseased when he 
commits, with no apparent motive, crimes against his parents and those 
dear to him, or friends, or public officials, etc.; also when he tries to make 
out that his act is much worse than it really is ; or seems apathetic in the 
face of most moving events; or again when he is extraordinarily excited or 
violent, loquacious or taciturn, or when he absolutely refuses to hear the 
action itself spoken about. In such cases it must be remembered that 
an individual struck with temporary madness may have lucid intervals 
when his words are perfectly rational. 

Other suspicious phenomena are a radical and inexplicable change in 
the manner of living and character of a person, accompanied with 
indifference for relations formerly of great importance {i.e., business and 
family relations), irritability, sudden taking to drink, vagabondage, sexual 
excesses, feebleness of memory, rapid cerebral fatigue, denunciation of 
morality, negligence in bearing and person, pugnaciousness, destructive- 
ness, irritation, jealousy, complaints of slanders, uttering threats — even 
before the Court, complaints of bodily illness and pain — especially of 
nervous varieties, anxiety, apprehensiveness, headache, insomnia, fear of 
becoming mad, imaginary troubles, melancholy or excessive good spirits, 
being tired of life, attempts at suicide, complaints of being troubled 
with peculiar thoughts, exaggerated religiousness formerly foreign to the 
character, apprehension of something terrible happening with vague 
indications as to the misfortune, menacing, warnings, or threats to 
friends, attempts to deprive himself of means that offer to commit a 
crime. Krafft-Ehing also mentions other inquiries to be made where 
there exist in the family of the accused, e.g., grave brain, nerve, or mental 
maladies, suicides, chronic drunkards, or peculiarly immoral or criminal 
manner of living ; again where the age of the accused disposes him to 
commit such and such an action, e.g., certain crimes against morality 
at the beginning of old age, or false accusations of imaginary crimes 
at the age of the development of puberty, or where at the period of 
menstruation a woman generally acts in some abnormal way and the 
crime has been committed during such a period : there are women who 
do things at the period of menstruation which would never enter their 
minds at any other time^^^^\ 

The author would especially call attention to " the peculiar manner 
of writing" spoken of by Casper-Lionan^'^^^^ (see above). This manner 
of writing is peculiar to mad persons and of great importance to the 
Investigating Officer who has more occasion to observe it than the 


lunacy doctor and to whom it is easier to discover an anomaly in 
handwriting than in the expression on a face. The Investigating Officer 
has occasion to read so many things written by sane persons that he 
acquires great experience by doing so and can notice better than other 
people anything out of the ordinary in handwriting. Moreover the 
Investigating Officer can hardly dispense with paying attention to sus- 
pected writing if he wish to avoid disagreeable situations^^^^\ 

Certain people afflicted with mental troubles are very fond of writ- 
ing : especially when misanthropic they are prone to substitute letters 
or petitions for personal relations. Moreover people suffering from the 
monomania of persecution are particularly fond of appearing before the 
courts believing they are safest there. 

We have all had experience of habitues among this latter class of un- 
fortunate madmen who come from time to time to seek news of their 
suit, legacy, fortune, etc. It sometimes happens that these persons will 
on no account appear before the court for fear of being shut up, deceived, 
or even executed ; they prefer to make their accusations in writing, 
such accusations of imaginary crimes come before every court and 
cause most disagreeable confusion, when, led astray by apparently per- 
fectly reasonable explanations, cases are rashly taken up against the 
parties accused. 

Since when an urgent matter comes before an Investigating Officer a 
doctor is not always at hand, he will be obliged to go on- with the inquiry 
himself ; it is therefore desirable he should be acquainted with these 
special ways of writing peculiar to insane persons. They may be found 
in the office of every registrar and a registrar of any experience will 
immediately recognise them ; the young Investigating Officer has but to 
read them with great care in order to discover their characteristic signs. 
One can hardly define in what the originality and the distinctive features 
of these documents consist, the habit of dealing with them will, so to 
speak, reveal their sentiment. It is especially to be noted that these 
petitions are generally of great length and repeat themselves over and 
over again ; amplications and exaggerations are generally to be found 
and in themselves are certain indications of the falseness of the com- 
plaint {e.g., the petitioner says he has had his head split or has been 
shut up for three months with only a small piece of dry bread each 
day). The construction of the phrases is often involved, incomprehensi- 
ble, and stiff, often again short and full of little prepositions, — but it is 
never natural. It is a striking fact that a man afflicted with a mental 



disease, almost always makes use, when writing, of words, of extraordi- 
nary formation and inordinate length. He is often betrayed by this.* 

But all that an insane person may say or write is not always devoid 
of truth or inaccurate, and every accusation, even coming from a person 
notoriously rnad, is worthy of examination ^^^\ It only too often happens 
that people profit by the circumstance of an individual's madness to say 
"all the same, no-one will believe that madman." If this be so the 
unfortunate lunatic is at the mercy of the whole world and exposed to the 
exploitation, teasing, and bad treatment of ill-conditioned and ill-minded 
people, especially when they find out that their victim's repeated complaints 
have not been believed. It is therefore the duty of the Investigating Officer 
to verify the accuracy of all the statements of a lunatic ; on every occa- 
sion he should make sure that there is really no truth in the case even 
where the evil complained of has been found on previous occasions to be 
false. We remember a case in which a crazy old peasant had made in- 
numerable representations to the authorities in which he declared that 
*' his enemy" had made before his house or on his way, pits, traps, and 
similar contrivances, by which he would be killed or injured. Many of 
these representations were furnished with clear sketches of the asserted 
pitfalls, etc. These representations became known to the people of the 
neighbourhood and on one occasion the village boys played a practical 
joke and really made a pit before his front door and filled it with manure. 
The unfortunate man fell right into it and was nearly drowned. 

We shall now direct attention to several points which the Investi- 
gating Officer should carefully note. 

1. It is often necessary to cite lunatics as witnesses ; they should 
never be sent away merely on the ground that they are demented, for 
they can sometimes render considerable assistance. It has been fre- 
quently remarked ^^''^ that madmen, especially certain varieties of madmen, 
are excellent observers ; they are not nearly so adverse to telling the truth 
as many people who rejoice in all their faculties, for they do not allow 
themselves to be guided by considerations of propriety ; they have also 

* As an example of such a letter we give the following : — Forhvdndc Beohachtetwerdens- 
Fatalitdt (continual watching-of-coming-fatalities) ich bitte un Untersuchhigsgefdlligkcit (I 
beg you to-persist-in-your-searching) der Mann hatte eincn Braunroch an (The man had on a 
brown coat) dieser gross artigen grobheUsauftUrnmngen (these great stormy-insults) der Bichter 
hat mir sclwn viit meinen Feinden em Einverstdndnisgesicht (the judge shows me on his face 
that he has already come to an understanding with my enemies) Mein Ochse litt an einem 
eingeirctenen Klauennagelverschivdrungsgeschivilr (my ox stepped on one of his hoof-nails-may- 
he-be-doubly-damned). Certainly such word formations are extraordinary and exhibit an 
unhappy disease of the mind and the necessity of caution. 


nore opportunities for observation, for things are done and said in the 
)resence of a lunatic which would not be done or said before others ; 

^t is self-evident that the statements of a madman must be well weighed 

before being utilised as evidence in a case. 

2. Everyone knows that delirium causes a man to commit all sorts 
of actions ; we often believe we have to do with deliberate acts when 
they are but the result of an attack of intermittent fever ; in such a 

(case errors are easily made, for the invalid generally conducts himself 
^n quite a normal manner and it is only dilring the short intervals of 
an attack that he performs acts for which he cannot be held responsible. 
When therefore the Investigating Officer learns that the accused suffers 
from time to time from these attacks he should not neglect to consult a 

3. Krafft-Ehing^^^-^'^^^ remarks that very vivid dreams often conti- 
nue their effect after the sleeper awakes ; in such cases the incidents in 
dreams are often taken for realities. Numerous inaccurate statements 
are explained in this way — perhaps also more than one piece of supposed 
perjury. It is said that such dreams are especially common among 
epileptics ^^'^^■^'^^^ 

4. Not less important are acts committed in a state of somnam- 
bulism, (see Krafft-Ehing who indicates special books and the most 
important cases on the subject) . Somnambulists mostly attack the objects 
nearest at hand, generally people they suddenly meet, and they often 
develop a strength which bears no comparison with that of their waking 
state. This phenomenon is especially noticeable among young people 
in their first sleep, and after great intellectual or corporeal efforts. The 
recollection of these acts is either completely effaced or else preserved 
in the vaguest possible way ^^'^^"^'^''^ 

5. Just as the satisfaction of certain corporeal needs (such as eat- 
ing, drinking, sleeping, smoking, yawning,) is contagious, so certain acts 
of the insane may arouse imitation among people of perfectly normal 
condition. Especially noticeable is the contagion of hysteria, epilepsy, 
and other psychological epidemics — at one time so frequent ^278-282) g^^ 
the imitation of an isolated action of a lunatic may also take place, 
especially by young persons who have been for a considerable time in his 
society ^2^\ 

6. When the accused declares that he has only committed a great 
crime with the intention of being executed ^2^*^ and under the pretext 
that he is too cowardly to commit suicide, his declaration must not be 


brushed aside without further examination; it may have some foundation, 
especially when we have to deal with people who are melancholic by 
nature or mentally deficient. All such cases should be referred to the 
medical expert. 

7. The theories regarding "moral insanity", "fixed ideas", and 
other species of mania, are so important to the Investigating Officer that it 
is absolutely necessary for him to familiarise himself with them, and study 
some leading work^^^"^^^ on the subject such as Krafft-Ehing' s " Hints on 
recognising, and appreciating from a legal point of vieiv, sickly conditions 
of mind." This kind of brain trouble is so uncommon that it often 
remains unperceived ; and if the Investigating Officer does not detect it, 
the medical jurisprudent is not consulted ; and as such kinds of affections 
hardly ever show themselves during the course of the trial the accused is 
condemned though not really responsible for his actions. 

8. Now-a-days the theory of reflected acts has assumed some im- 
portance ^^^~^*l By a reflected act is meant one coming between a pure 
reflex act wholly independent of volition and an act done with full 
consciousness, and is only realized when reflected upon in the sub-con- 
sciousness (through habit, analogy, etc.) ^^^^ . 

9. An objective and sure sign of drunkenness and its degrees is 
given by H. Gudden^^^^^^^^\ It is to be particularly remarked when one 
has to do with tipplers and genuine habitual drunkards that such people 
are most untrustworthy. At first sight one does not know every tippler, 
but one can judge them from their tearful whimpering and accusations 
of others. When the question of the conjugal fidelity of his wife is 
ostentatiously brought forward and maintained by a man he is almost 
always a chronic alcoholist ^^^^ . 

10. About the signification of homosexuality, one must be to-day 
particularly clear, and take up a position on the question. It should be 
thoroughly understood whether the same is a disease of the mind, a vice, 
or an innate peculiarity. One has to put before oneself a long chain of 
developments which begin with the normal sexual man and extend over 
the man and woman of light character, to the effeminate and the virago, 
and from these to the declared hermaphrodite. The unnatural character 
of the hermaphrodite and the repugnance we feel towards him, must 
lead us to look on him as a being for whom punishment is not the 
proper treatment^^^\ 

11. Upon the much disputed subject of the lessening of the ordinary 
mental faculties, see Sclirenck-Notzing ^^^^ and Cramer ^^^^ . 


12. The numerous and for us often weighty signs (twilight condi- 
tions) are well handled by Morchen ^^^^ in treating of the marks of the 
true and masked epileptic (nightly wetting of the bed), and the frequent, 
prominent, and inexplicable skin-bleedings on the neck, shoulders, and 
behind the ears (stigmata). See the experienced Pfsttr ^^K Nearly 
every epileptic lies, is violent, and a bigot. 

18. Masochism, Sadism, and Feticliism are treated in text books on 
Psychiatry, Psychopathology, etc. Only a suggestion of their important 
appearances is given here. 

{a) Masochism appears when the afflicted person allows himself to 
be ill-treated by his partner, in order to be wholly sexually excited or to 
attain the full enjoyment of the act of generation. 

(b) Sadism conversely is wiien the afflicted person for the same 
object ill-treats his partner, chokes, bites, pricks, beats, etc. Hereby 
alone many murders can be explained, the man or woman having for 
once gone too far. 

(c) Fetichism appears when for sexual objects or for sexual stimu- 
lus a person purloins such things as plaits of hair, cloth-bags, shoes, 
stockings, apron-strings, etc. As a rule this peculiarity goes with 
secret vice. 

(d) Saliromama is the name given to the desire to soil and spoil 
clothes of women with ink, acid, etc. One concludes this behaviour has 
a sexual origin, a sort of fetichism bound up wath sadism^^^°\ 

E. Hypnotism. 

In the first edition of this book the author wrote : — " At the end 
of this chapter hypnotism must also be mentioned. It is a doctrine 
which has been received by specialists in so many different ways that 
it is impossible for an outsider to take up any decisive attitude with 
regard to it. This theory of hypnotism partakes of the destiny of all pro- 
blems which have been treated in a premature and unscientific way by 
people of doubtful learning and character ; it is therefore difficult to say 
whether, in giving their so-called opinions, they have been influenced by 
a desire to speak the truth or by other more or less obscure motives. 
Thus it has happened that, among the most distinguished specialists, 
some have considered hypnotism to be a positive science while others 
have only asked with regard to it, who is the cheat or who the dupe. 



" But if the medical man can quietly study, make experiments, and 
observe, it is not so with the jurist ; if hypnotism and what is claimed 
for it exist, it would seem to be the duty of the Investigating Officer to 
attack a subject all the difficulties of which have as yet hardly been fore- 
seen ; no one indeed knows how we are to approach this task nor how to 
deal with it in order to obtain a successful result. Now-a-days jurists 
neither can nor oiight to take action in the matter ; as yet they have not 
sufficient scientific material at their disposal, and it is beyond doubt that 
the premature adoption of a point of view which has not yet been made 
clear would cause more harm than the conservative ignorance of a person 
who holds himself aloof. But it is not necessary for us to take up such 
an extreme position ; we have only to retain an attitude of observation 
and expectation ; to take a great interest in the subject and study it, 
making observations on our own account and calling in the expert on 
every occasion on which we fall in with a case in which it crops up, 
so as to cover our own responsibility. But let us go slowly ! We 
recommend Investigating Officers to become familiar with the work of 
Dr. von Lilienthal, Hypnotism and the Criminal Laiv.'' 

In the 2nd edition the author wrote : — 

" Since the 1st edition was published the question has taken another 
and more scientific aspect. The jurist who casts a glance through the 
flood of books on the subject can no longer hold aloof as an out- 
sider from the question of hypnotism. The works of Delbrilck, For el, 
Bernheim, Bully, Bihot, Krafft-Ebing, Morel, Dessoir, Bieger, Liegeois, 
Midler, Ohersteiner, Bicliet, Shr enck -Not zing , Preyer, Moll, Wetterstrand, 
Liebault, Beaunis, Schmidkunz, and in particular the contributors to the 
Bevue de Vhypnotisme and to the Zeitschrift filr Hypnotismus of Gross- 
mann, have cleared up the question in a scientific manner ; the existence 
of hypnotism can no longer be doubted, and the jurist ought to consider 
how he must deal with it ; since the last edition we have been bitterly 
reproached with not attacking the question : Schmidkunz^^^^^ says : — 
' Professional lawyers have neglected the importance of suggestion to 
such an extent that others have been obliged to fill up the gap as soon 
as possible ; their negligence consists either in complete indifference 
or else in violent attacks.' Henceforward let us no longer be reproached 
in this way but, when medical men have given us incontestable and 
irrefutable material, attack the question in so far as it concerns our pro- 
fession. We will at the same time know how to oppose any interference 
with our special business." 


For el has said in a small treatise : — " Hypnotism is obliged to 
traverse, like every fresh truth, three phases : denial, struggle, and accep- 
tance "; but the author is of opinion that the last phase, that of acceptance, 
ought, like every other new thing, to also pass through three stages, 
namely timid welcome, unmeasured exaggeration, and correct appreciation. 

It seems that as regards hypnotism we have already arrived at the 
exaggeration stage of the phase of acceptance. Forel is right when he 
declares : — " the adversaries of hypnotism who said yesterday, ' it is all 
trickery and illusion ', and who say to-day, ' this hypnotism is terribly 
dangerous, it must be fought with and annihilated,' will perhaps say to- 
morrow 'but this is old history which we have been long aware of." 
This last observation is very just. Indeed, not taking into account the 
Indians, Egyptians, and other Oriental peoples, as to whose knowledge 
of hypnotism we have ample proof, we find in history a number of 
others who have mentioned hypnotism in terms more or less clear ^^^^^ : — 
Aesculapius, Bollstadt, Paracelsus, Helmont, W. Maxtvell, A. von Nettes- 
heim, Cardanus Campanella, Giordano Bruno, Porta, A. Kircher, Anton 
Mesmer, Braid, Liehaiilt, and Bernlieim, no less than contemporary men 
of learning, mark the stages of the development of this theory, a theory 
which has to-day become so important. 

If we desire to obtain an idea of the value of this theory for ourselves 
we must study, however superficially, the very essence of hypnotism ; 
otherwise the Investigating Officer will be incapable of knowing when he 
is face to face with a case of hypnotism and must consequently have 
recourse to an expert. 

We must at the outset agree with Max Dessoir^^^^^ {Das Doppel-Ich, 
Berlin, 1889) that human personality divides itself into at least two 
spheres which are, theoretically, quite distinct, namely " the waking 
state " (the superior consciousness) and the " dream state " (the inferior 
consciousness) . The latter state is by no means unknown to us ; it exists 
whenever we dream or when, in a fit of sleepwalking or distraction, we 
act without knowing what we are doing. It is in the sphere of this 
inferior consciousness that all the acts of a person under the influence of 
hypnotism are placed and by arranging these phenomena in a category of 
known facts we attempt to form a clear idea of that state. Hypnotism 
has most resemblance to sleep. Suppose we were to see a person asleep 
for the first time — the phenomenon would appear much more strange 
than anything seen or heard with regard to hypnotism^^^^l But we 
may distinguish sleep from hypnotism by designating the latter (as does 




ForeP^*^), by the phrase " state of suggestibiHty." To "suggest" is to 
produce a dynamic change in the nervous system of a person under the 
influence of another person, inducing in the subject an idea that this 
change is taking or has taken place. As to auto-suggestion, it is the sug- 
gestion a man effects upon himself either consciously or unconsciously. 
We can therefore distinguish as determining motives : — 

1. A supernatural agent : — magnetism, mesmerism, telepathy, pre- 
sentiment, visions, etc. 

2. Suggestion : — as formulated since the time of Braid, 1843 and 
Liebotdt, 1864. 

3. All somatic, corporeal, or materialistic theories which presume 
pei'ipheric influences on the extremities of the nerves (fixity of look, rub- 
bing of the forehead, etc). 

The second theory (suggestion) alone has any scientific value ^^^^\ 
Only one kind of hypnotism is then established by science, i.e., that con- 
sisting of the suggestion of ideas. 

. It would be superfluous to analyse the way in which it takes place in 
practice ; whoever feels any disposition for these questions, dangerous as 
they are, may find the necessary information in almost any worlv on 
hypnotism^^^*"^^''^ but it is better to leave such experiments to medical men. 

In the hypnotic state itself three stages may be distinguished : — 

(1) SoMMOLENCE, — statc in which the subject can still open the eyes. 

(2) Light sleep, — (hypotaxis, charm) — state in which he partly 
submits to the influence of suggestion. 

(3) Deep sleep, — somnambulism with amnesia (forgetfulness) 
after waking ^^^^\ 

MUller also differentiates between deep sleep with or without posthyp- 
notic hallucinations, i.e, the subject may, after coming to, remain under 
the influence of what has been suggested to him while in the hypnotic 


We have also to distinguish {Bernheim, Liegeois, Obersteiner, etc) : — 
{a) Mental suggestion : here the thoughts of one person act 
upon other persons. Peronet ^^^^^ relates how he ordered a person to play 
the piano until it was suggested to him to stop. He placed himself 
behind the pianist while he was playing and began to wish energetically 
that he would stop playing, and, at that very moment, he stopped. 

(b) Eetroactive hallucination : — by which a person is persuaded 
that certain facts have happened. The person believes these facts though 
they have never taken place. 


(c) Negative hallucination : — by which it is suggested to a 
person that certain objects present have disappeared {e.g.y that a person 
present has gone away : the subject no longer sees the person though he 
is still there.) 

If it be asked ap to what point people can be hypnotised we learn 
from Forel that a man with a healthy mind may be hypnotised when 
there is no " auto-suggestion " not to be hypnotised, i.e., where the 
patient does not battle against the hypnotiser. According to Obersteiner 
one person in every three is absolutely proof against hypnotism, one in 
three is moderately affected, and one in three is perfectly hypnotisible. 
Liehault and Beniheim have hypnotised thousands of persons, very few of 
whom have opposed any resistance. Wetter strand has found 97 re- 
fractory persons out of 8148, Benterghen and Eeden found 395 out of 414 
susceptible to hypnotism. Speaking generally it may be said that from 
80 to 95 per cent, of men may be hypnotised. People having mental ill- 
Wt nesses are not included in this figure : they are hardly ever hypnotisible. 
" The effects of hypnotism have been established scientifically. Forel 
says : — By suggestion in hypnotism one may produce, influence, and 
impede all the subjective phenomena known to the human mind as well 
as a large number of the objective functions known to the nervous system ; 
only the functions of the ganglions and the reflexive movements of the 
spine, as well as those of the base of the skull, seem to escape the influ- 
ence of suggestion. Suggestion may even act upon the so-called somatic 
functions, such as digestion, perspiration, and menstruation. It may 
even in very rare cases produce bloody stigmata." ^^^"^ 

The post hypnotic effect, i.e. ulterior obedience to orders given during 
the hypnotic state, does not occur with all persons. It may last minutes 
or days and Liegeois ^^^^^ even mentions a case where suggestion was 
effective at the end of a year : the hypnotised, says Milller, may be in the 
most abject state of submission to the hypnotiser ; from the point of view 
of phenomena of the mind and the nervous movements he may be in 
a condition of absolute dependence. 

In the hypnotic state it may be suggested to people that they are 
ignorant of certain languages {Forel), that they are animals, that they 
are of another sex or age to what they really are {Krafft-Ehing). The 
senses and memory may be sharpened {Obersteiner) ; the subject may 
recognise the o wner of an article by the smell of it ; the servant of a 
clergyman was able to recite Latin and Hebrew passages, which she 
was unable to do in the waking state. An old lady transformed herself 



in turn into a peasant, a general, a little child, a young man {Bichet). If 
it is suggested to a hypnotised person that certain acts be done within a 
certain time, the suggestion is coercive in character ; it must be done as 
suggested but always with the idea that another has constrained the sub- 
ject so to act ; and the latter is generally aware that he has been so 
constrained by the person who has hypnotised him ; but again if it is 
suggested that what he does is of his own accord, he believes so. If all 
this be true the whole question is a very serious one. 

As regards the handwriting of a person while in the hypnotic state 
we find that such writing hardly differs from the subject's writing in the 
waking state. Ames discusses this at some length. He tells of an 
experiment tried in the following circumstances. A trial was made upon 
a young man, Mr. Guy Oppelt Mason, who had never been hypnotized. 
He was put under hypnotic influence, and was requested to write two 
specimens of his handwriting. After being awakened, he wrote a specimen 
in his normal state. He said that he had not written the hypnotised 
specimens ; at least, he did not remember anything about it. A com- 
parison of the two specimens showed that about the only difference was 
the size. Mr. Mason, while in the hypnotic state had been told that he 
had the toothache, etc., and consequently was more or less agitated when 
he sat down to write. While there were a few slight differences in some 
letters and in the pictorial effect, on the whole tho two specimens were 
wonderfully alike, and are most convincing that hypnotism, and no 
doubt other forms of double consciousness, cannot destroy the charac- 
teristics in handwriting. A curious feature in both specimens was the 
same mispelling of a word. 

We are thus driven to ask what importance the question of hyp- 
notism has from the criminal point of view. Either, says Biger^^^^\ the 
whole question is of no importance in criminal law, having existed and 
having been known for long but meriting no attention from that stand- 
point, or, it has become important solely by reason of great discoveries 
made since the drawing up of our present criminal codes. If we com- 
bine these two opposing phrases we may perhaps discover the truth ; 
the thing has existed for long, has had its influence, but its criminal 
importance has not been appreciated at its true value and is only now 
becoming recognised by us. The effects of hypnotism were formerly 
well known, but not as such ; DelbrUck, indeed, shows that they have 
been utilised in poetry ; e.g., Gattfried-Keller in his book " Le vert 
Henri " relates the history of a child of 7 years old who disgracefully 


slandered several boys older than himself by a quite imaginary story 
suggested to him. 

To understand the complications we meet in connection with hyp- 
notism we have but to consider some results obtained by specialists in that 
science. If for instance operations and accouchments may be painlessly 
performed in these days under the influence of hypnotism ^^^^ we may 
also be allowed to presume that common and immoral assaults may be 
performed upon hypnotised persons : thus a man is said to have been 
castrated during an hypnotic sleep. Liegeois made a lady confess before 
an audience to debts to the extent of six thousand francs; he suggested 
to her that he had lent her that sum sometime before. At the Congress 
of Jurists at Zurich a hypnotised boy swore that one of the gentlemen 
present had stolen his handkerchief and after a new suggestion he swore 
he had never made such an accusation. 

Liehault and Bernheim state that more than one case of illness and 
even cases of death must be put down to " suggestion " and they recall 
"the ordeals and judgments of God" of the middle ages. The thing 
seems almost unbelievable but really it is not so ; doctors and especially 
military doctors have often observed that the will of a man may in 
certain circumstances prolong life ; people dangerously ill live until the 
happening of such and such an event, e.g., the arrival of an expected 
relative ; soldiers gravely wounded on the field of battle live until the 
moment when some one finds them — thanks to the energy of their will. 
In the Russian and Austrian wars it was several times noticed that 
soldiers of Slav origin, whose character is weak and resigned, often suc- 
cumbed to wounds which were not really mortal, while the energetic 
character and love of life of the Germans enabled them, in spite of 
grievous wounds, to struggle with death until the moment when help 

But if the influence of the will upon life and death is so great even in 
a normal state, it must be admitted that this influence may be increased 
in certain circumstances by the will of another. In the same way, that 
is to say by suggestion, and especially auto-suggestion, certain presenti- 
ments of death are explained. 

The effect of suggestion upon daily life cannot be presumed to be the 
culminating point that may be attained by hypnotism. That goal will 
be reached when hypnotism is able to bring about certain purely somatic 
phenomena ; these phenomena are not only very remarkable but from 
a criminal stand-point may be full of the most surprising consequences. 




If e.g.y it is possible, as stated above, to retard or advance menstruation, 
it is natural to suppose that abortions may take place by suggestion, 
and, in consequence, by hypnotism. It is even stated that blisters may 
be made to appear on the body of a hypnotised person by telling him 
that a strong plaster has been put on him, whereas in reality it is only 
a piece of wet paper. The same phenomenon is produced by touching 
a person with a cold object and suggesting that it is burning. If all 
this is true we should not be astonished if the simple contact of a finger 
and the alHrmation that there are cicatrices there, produce bloody 

In this connection another question naturally arises. Is it not possi- 
ble to bring about in like manner all kinds of ecchymoses, traces of 
strangulation, etc., which may have the gravest consequences ? In 
another sense is there not room for fear that in certain circumstances 
all sorts of abuses are committed on persons susceptible to hypnotism ? 
Liegeois on this account advises people not to stare for long at one 
point when alone with a stranger, for, in this case, the danger of 
being hypnotised would be very great. It is related that one of the 
Baronesses Rothschild was thus hypnotised and robbed in a railway 
carriage. Forel even goes so far as to advise persons who are easily 
hypnotised to be hypnotised by a medical man in whom they have 
complete confidence, and who would suggest to them that no one else is 
able to hypnotise them but he himself. Here indeed is prophylactic 

Many professors of hypnotism fear that Investigating Officers may 
suggest false depositions or false confessions to a witness or accused person 
by bending their recollections by unconscious suggestion or retroactive 
hallucination. It is certain that this happens ; the explanation is quite 
natural, since, by persuading oneself and others, one is liable to commit 
very grave mistakes without its being possible to say that there is wilful 
suggestion. In all cases it is possible to control the accuracy of a wit- 
ness' statements by exercising an excess of complacency. One has only 
to question him in the same manner as before upon facts which one 
knows have not happened ; if the individual in question still replies in 
the affirmative, it is very probable that all that he has stated before is 
also untrue. 

As to acts done by the hypnotised person after hypnotism (post-hyp- 
notic action), they do not appear to be very dangerous. The hypnotised 
person when asked to do so while under the influence of hypnotism will 


drink, e.g., a glass of water, bow to a person, etc., but he will show re- 
pugnance and embarrassment when he is told to overturn a chair, 
throw ink about, or do other absurd things. But if he is asked to do 
something serious e.g., to throw some one out of the window, to give a 
blow, or to seize a person by the body, he will not do it, for as the absur- 
dity of the demand increases so also the resistance of his own will grows; 
for, that tvill must triumph over the foreign ivill which has suggested 
these things in proportion to the absurdity of the exactions of the 
foreign will. In relation to this another question arises : — To what 
extent are the statements of a hypnotised person to be believed ? We 
cannot trust them very far. Foul has recently said (in a private letter) 
that it must not be forgotten that when all is said and done it is always 
the same cerebral substance which is dictating the statements in the 
waking as well as in the hypnotised condition, so that the force of will 
not to speak the truth can only be paralysed to a certain extent. If one 
wishes therefore to undertake experiments which in themselves are not 
allowable, i.e., to try to find out the truthfulness of hypnotised wit- 
nesses or accused persons, the results obtained will be little worthy of 
reliance (324-327) 

Opinion is divided upon the question w^hether justice can profit by 
hypnotism and if so what the profit will be ; it will be interesting to 
study what men such as du Prel, Liegeois, Fr. C. Miiller, van Deventer, 
Sclimidkunz, and L. Drucker, etc., have said on this subject. 

If we sum up all the cases imaginable in which the criminal expert 
has to deal with hypnotism^328) ^g qc^^ ^^^y . — 

1. It may affect the property or moral character of the person 

2. Every kind of extortion may be committed with its assistance. 

3. It may suggest crimes to be committed. 

4. It may suggest illnesses, etc. 

5. The courage necessary for the performance of a crime may be 
suggested with its help. 

6. Persons who have committed no crime may be unjustly accused 
by a person under its influence. 

7. On the other hand a person who has knowingly committed 
a crime may plead suggestion by another. 

8. Traces of wounds and strangulations may be produced by sugges- 
tion and subsequently serve as proofs. 

9. Abortion may be brought about by suggestion. 




10. A.11 kinds of illnesses — especially of the nerves, and convulsions, 
may be the consequence of illicit or awkv^ard hypnotising. 

11. Involuntary suggestion may be practised by the Investigating 
Officer himself or other persons to be questioned. 

We may say, generally speaking, that the dangers of hypnotism are 
not so very great and are better knov^n than formerly, thanks to nevr 
theories which have carried us a considerable w^ay forward. Difficulties 
always become less as we learn to know them better. All the Investi- 
gating Officer need keep well in mind is that he should call in an expert 
on every occasion when he discovers the least trace of hypnotism. 

If we compare what has been said at the Criminal Anthropological 
Congress in Brussels, for example by Benedikt, Voism, Berillon, Crocq, 
Hoiize, Ladame, Masoin, Motet, Mendel, upon criminal suggestion with 
the modern conception thereof, we find a remarkable coolness or indiffer- 
ence in the value attached to it. We cannot be far wrong in ascribing 
this healthy change chiefly to the great lawsuits of modern times in 
which suggestion played an important part and in which the first masters 
took trouble to make the problem clear. It was thus with the process 
against Anderson Grey (Cowly County, Kansas) ; then the much talked- 
about "fascination trial ", and again the extremely learned proceedings 
against the murderer Berchthold in Munich. In all these processes one 
had the living material, the visible effect before one. One felt the 
gravity and the significance of the question, and so exerted oneself to 
make the thing clear and exclude all extraneous matter. One went on 
to describe the " faszineeren " (fascination) (already in 1855 called by 
Braid " Monoideisieren ") of suggestion and to give the public clear 
statements about it. That for example put forward by Prof elisor Hirt 
of Breslau in the Czynsky case was perhaps the clearest on the subject. 
He said : — *' One can compare the superficial part of the brain, where 
according to the observations of to-day the memory, feelings, and sen- 
sations play, so far as concerns a conscious normal thoughtful person, 
with a sheet of paper which is ornamented with thousands of letters — 
these letters are the thoughts. When I by some means or other, as for ^1 
example was done by the accused with Baroness Z., by sharp looks and ^^ 
strokes with the hand before the face, put the victim into a sleeping, 
condition, then the letters fade more and more, as the individual gets 
tired, and are finally imperceptible in deep hypnotism, indeed altogether 
wiped out. When I then suggest something to the patient I write new 
characters and signs on the piece of paper, which the sleeper hears, reads, 


and without criticism believes to be true, that is to say takes for his own 
thoughts. The clearer the writing of the suggester, the more impres- 
sive the suggestions that follow, and on waking they cleave to the 
consciousness of the hypnotised subject, he takes them home with him 
and works with them. The more frequently the suggestions are re- 
peated, and the deeper the hypnotic sleep is, so much the clearer and 
lasting are the characters which belong to it, and so much the more 
likely to influence the actions of the person sent to sleep (post-hypnotic 
suggestion.) " 

Equally weighty and important were the different opinions given 
by Dr. Freiherr von SchrencJc-Notzmg and Professor' Grasliey in the 
Berchthold trial, in which mainly the question of suggestion of the 
i witnesses as well as the further question of how far in that particular 
case the province of the expert extended, led to the final solution. Again 
the question of the working of post-hypnotism is not nearly so interest- 
ing as it once appeared to be, as the strength and length of the effect 
are shown to be very insignificant. This is best illustrated by the case 
related by Ernest Naville, in which Dr. Liehault suggested to an idle 
stubborn child the desire to work. This lasted, however, only a short 
time, the child became once more idle, and attempts at the same sugges- 
tion did not succeed. This case is well established. 

Without doubt we shall continue to study the question with the greatest 
care and call to our help the expert when a case of hypnotism comes 
before us — but the complicated importance which the matter was formerly 
believed to possess no longer exists. 

F. Colour Blindness. 

Colour blindness is more widespread and more important than is 
generally believed. Since 1777, when Joseph Huddart^^'^^ first mentioned 
this pecuharity when writing to Joseph Priestly, and John Dalton dealt 
with the subject more deeply in 1794, colour blindness has been the 
object of most extensive study and investigation. The number of persons 
who ought to be considered victims of colour blindness to a greater or 
less degree cannot be established. The percentage given in the respec- 
tive works of Wilson, Seehech, Young, Helmholtz, Maxwell, Favre, Fe^'is, 
Stilling, Blaschko, Holmgren and others^^*^"^''^^ varies from 3*25 % to 8 %. 
We may assume the average to be 5 %, thus making one man in every 
20 to some extent colour blind ; it should be added that colour blindness 



is much more frequent among men than women and its most usual form 
is a confusion of red with green or yellow. 

Frithiof Holmgre^i <348— 384) draws the following distinctions : — f 

1. Total colour blindness, i.e., the individual in question can only 
distinguish that a colour is dark or Hght. He can only see, e.g., red on 
red, or grey on grey ; we cannot say how he really sees the colour for 
we are unable to discuss it with him owing to our having no correspond- 
ing notion of it ourselves. 

2. Partial colour blindness — (a) Typical, i.e., the individual cannot 
distinguish certain determinate colours : — as a rule he cannot see (a) red, 
{b) green, (c) violet. 

{h) Incomplete, i.e., he distinguishes with some hesitation either 
all or only certain colours. 

The importance of colour blindness arises in many contingencies. In 
the first place it is rarely admitted by those who are victims of it. Most 
men are unaware that they are thus afflicted and when they do know 
they hate to confess to it, as though they were guilty of some crime. It 
is beyond doubt that it may be very important to an Investigating Officer ; 
it is especially dangerous in all cases where colour signals are in question, 
for it may bring about grave accidents on railways, ships, or in mines ; 
it must be taken into account when there is a question of the colour of, 
e.g., a garment, in identifying persons (the man in a green coat), or 
when looking for traces of blood. A colourblind man can see blood only 
on a green background (as for instance on the grass or on green or yellow 
clothes), and that with difficulty. If therefore the Investigating Officer 
has the slightest suspicion that he has to deal with such a person and if 
the designation of the real colour is of importance, he will hand over the 
witness to a medical expert. 

G. The Teeth (355-359) . 

The very important help which can be given by the experienced 
dentist is far too little appreciated. He should always be consulted 
when any traces caused by teeth are discovered, e.g., wounds caused by 
biting, forgotten or discarded smoking materials (cigar ends, pipes, cigar 
or cigarette-holders, etc.,) marks on pens or pencils, etc. In questions 
of identity, dentists in cities can frequently help by making sketches of 
teeth they have operated upon.. When one considers the assistance a 

dentist can give we cannot help thinking that he is called in far too 
seldom ^^^^*\ 


Some time ago a banker was mm'dered in St. Petersburg and near him 
was found a cigar-holder with an amber mouthpiece. The holder was 
so shaped that it could only be held in one position in the mouth, and a 
close examination showed that it had two marks,- which must have been 
made by two teeth of unequal length. The banker had no such irregular 
teeth, but his nephew had, and, their suspicions aroused by this simple 
but important discovery, the authorities soon learned enough to warrant 
them in arresting him on the charge of murder. 

Section iii. — The Microscopist. 

However perfect the construction of the microscope may be, however 
great the services rendered by this admirable instrument, it is not yet 
much employed by the Investigating Officer. To examine blood, esta- 
blish the existence of sperms ^^°~^^^\ to compare hair, is about all the 
good at present the microscope observer is to the Investigating Officer. 
Other examinations are the exception, although there are innumerable 

cases where the microscope expert might be able to give the most 
interesting information and even clear up more than one dark mystery. 
And the explanation of this is that the Investigating Officer does not 
know what the observer at the microscope is capable of telling him 
and that the latter is unaware that the Investigating Officer requires 
his help or in what way he requires it. The result is that they remain 
strangers to one another where they should, in many a case, walk hand 
in hand together. This ignorance of one another goes so far that in 
the numerous works upon microscopes and their employment, all the 
services they are capable of rendering are mentioned, with the exception 
of those they are capable of in the domain of criminal law. If we con- 
sider the benefits we owe to the microscopist in the domain of hygiene 
we are almost forced to say that the microscope alone has rendered this 
science practicable. Bacteriology, examination of water, air, soil, or food, 
the determining of the nature of a large number of illnesses, and many 
other important branches of the science of hygiene, would have absolutely 
no existence unless it were for the microscope. And the reason is simply 
that the hygienist knew the services the microscope was able to render 
him ; he asked for those services and received them, just as the Investi- 
gating Officer would have obtained them if he had thought of questioning 
the microscope expert. If these two persons come into contact so rarely, 
it is the fault of the Investigating Officer and not of the other, for the 
observer at the microscope is in no way obliged to ask the Investigating 


Officer what he wants. Besides he cannot even know, in spite of the best 
will in the world, when his existence will be of utility, for the domain of 
the criminal law is too much out of his line, and he does not know the 
difficulties and requirements of the Investigating Officer. 

To remedy this difficulty nothing can be done but to collect in 
practice as many cases as possible in which the Investigating Officer has 
invoked the help of the observer at the microscope, and with success. 
Only when a large number of such examples have been collected will it 
be possible to systematize them and thus inform the Investigating Offi- 
cer not only of isolated examples of cases in which the microscope 
expert can help him but also furnish him with a list of these cases 
systematically grouped and co-ordinated. Speaking quite generally it 
may be said that the microscope expert is useful in all cases where it is 
desirable to see anything more clearly than with the naked eye, also where 
it is necessary to establish the composition of an object without destroying 
or deteriorating it — which the chemist is nearly always obliged to do ; 
finally, in cases where it is necessary to distinguish and differentiate the 
physical (as opposed to chemical) parts of a body, that is to say, when 
mechanical separation and not chemical analysis is desired {e.g., determi- 
nation of various powdered bodies of a mixture, apart from the elements 
of which those bodies are constituted) . 

In the following paragraphs a small number of cases will be cited in 
which the Investigating Officer has a right to hope for the help of the 
microscopist. It should be remarked that these examples are not intended 
to form a complete or nearly complete list of all possible cases ; the object 
of the author is to encourage and to continue this work in the same 
sense and ask his colleagues to call in a microscopic expert on every 
occasion he may be of any use — and thus greatly benefit criminal justice. 
The reader is moreover warned that practically no difference is made 
with respect to examinations made with a magnifying glass ; such a 
distinction cannot be drawn, for in certain cases the one instrument is 
employed and in others the second, while both are often used together. 
Both examinations are united in the term ' microscopic examination.' 

A. Traces of blood. 

When the existence of blood-stains is to be determined it is the 
Investigating Officer's duty to look for them with the utmost attention, 
collect and preserve them with the greatest care, and hand them 
over to the expert as soon as possible. What the Investigating Officer 


should do in such a case will be considered in Chapter XIV — '' Traces of 
Blood"; here we simply point out how and at what stage the expert must 
be utilised. It will be especially important to obtain his co-operation at 
the outset so that he may be of assistance in discovering the traces. 

This search is to be made methodically and nothing omitted which 
may possibly prove to be a blood-stain. A saving of time and trouble 
will also be effected by not bothering with articles which bear no traces 
of blood. It must not be forgotten that traces of blood do not always 
bear the aspect gi^en them in criminal romances ; a blood-stain may, 
according to its background, assume all imaginable colours : it may also 
have been hidden by something which chance or premeditation has placed 
there. In fact, the search for blood traces in extensive areas such as large 
rooms, fields, or woods, is not so easy as one might imagine. In the 
way of example it is cited that blood-spots which were quickly exposed 
to the sun, according to the experiments of Hammerls, even after five 
days became fawn-grey^^^^\ Special experience and knowledge such as an 
expert alone possesses are necessary. For this reason his help must be 
invoked as often as possible ; but if the expert is being made use of, his 
advice and experience must also be utilised to preserve and pack up the 
objects. This is important because the expert, when examining them, 
knows from having seen with his own eyes exactly what procedure has 
been followed, what measures have been taken, and what the aspect of 
the objects was immediately on their discovery. He can thus form a 
fair opinion of changes which sometimes take place. The author would 
also add, not from a feeling of distrust, for he believes the Investigat- 
ing Officer to be even more conscientious than the medical man, but 
for other reasons, that everything should be done by the Investigating 
Officer and not by the medical jurist. For it is his opinion that the 
report may be impugned if it is stated therein that '* the blood-stains 
were collected and preserved by the chemical examiner." It is the 
Investigating Officer who should attend to this business, at the same 
time mentioning in his report that he has done so under the supervision 
of the expert, i.e., the medical officer. This procedure guarantees the 
truth and increases the value of the operation ; it also points out the 
auxiliary role of the expert. As to his primary role, we must try and find 
out what the Investigating Officer should ask the microscope observer, that 
is to say, what he has the right to ask and what it is his duty to ask. 

Above all it must be recollected that the fresher and more intact are 
the traces the better the expert can reply *^^^\ 


It goes without saying that a large number of objects facilitate the 
work, and, though sn^all quantities may give a satisfactory result yet 
it will be the duty of the Investigating Officer to give the expert as large 
a quantity as possible. He ought never to leave behind any objects 
under the pretext that there is already enough of them. One never 
knows what turn the case may take ; one cannot say at the outset that 
different objects will not give different results. It is certain that the 
expert can in nearly every case distinguish blood-stains from other stains. 
Even when the stains might lead us into error by, their more or less 
perfect resemblance to blood, science possesses sufficient means of enabl- 
ing an indisputable judgment being formulated. 

However great the resemblance between blood-stains and marks of 
paint, rust <364-365)^ chewing tobacco, and the mouldiness of certain mush- 
rooms, the expert cannot be deceived. It is not the same however if 
he be asked whence the blood comes (366—372) Science of to-day can 
distinguish the various kinds of blood by the shape and colour of the 
blood globules : it is known that those of amphibious animals, fish, 
birds, the camel, the dromadery, and the lama are elliptical, and those 
of all other mammifers are quite round. But as a matter of fact the size 
of the globules of blood varies in the different mammifers ; they are 
largest in man. 

We have also a number of measurements at our disposal which 
indicate the size of the blood globules of the various mammifers. These 
lists are only of theoretical value to us and are but very rarely utilised 
in questions of law. In the first place the dimensions indicated are 
not always the same ; it is only possible to give a maximum and a 
minimum for each animal, e.g., for a dog '0060 to "0074 millimetres, 
for a rabbit from '0066 to '0070 millimetres, so that a globule of blood 
the size of which is found to lie between "0066 and *0070 may belong to 
either of these animals. Moreover these lists indicate measures of a 
thousandth part of a millimetre or often even of ten thousandth parts of 
a millimetre ; the absolute accuracy of a measurement cannot therefore 
be answered for in a criminal matter. Finally, it must not be forgotten 
that these measurements are only definite when the blood cells have 
been dried in discs, and have been submitted to no foreign influence ; it 
will be rare to obtain all these conditions for a blood-stain serving as 
corpus delicti. ^^Hl 

It is therefore permissible to presume that there are exception^^ 
cases in which definite results may be attained^^'^^^ The author would 



reiterate that no Investigating Officer should be content with merely plac- 
ing the objects in the hands of the expert and awaiting his report. He 
does his duty only when he interests himself in the expert's work, when 
he goes to find him in his laboratory, watches his results, and communi- 
cates to him new information obtained in the course of the inquiry, and 
consults with him upon that information. If he does not do this it may 
happen that the pivot on which the case in hand turns is quite different 
at the time when the expert sends in his report to that when he first 
took cognisance of the objects ; this singular fact may then happen, 
the expert is still contenting himself with trying to find replies to 
questions which have long ago ceased to be of importance while he 
does not reply to questions which in the meantime have become im- 
portant : this evil can only crop up where the relations between 
Investigating Officer and the expert are not constant and close ; the 
author affirms that he has never received a bad welcome nor found any 
impatience on the part of the expert ; the hours he has spent in various 
laboratories are among those most full of suggestions and most instruc- 
tive in his career. 

To come back to our subject, let us presume that the expert declares 
to the Investigating Officer that the globules of blood of a corpus delicti 
are well preserved and can be easily measured ; let us also presume that 
the accused asserts that the stains in question come from some animal 
he has killed ; and let us finally presume that the animal indicated by the 
accused is not a rabbit, dog, Indian pig, or other animal frequently 
found in physiological laboratories but on the contrary an animal whose 
blood globules have never been measured or registered as regards their 
size. The globules of blood are perhaps very large, as large as those 
of man, or perhaps are very small, smaller than those of mammifers 
whose blood has been already tested and measured. In the former case, 
i.e., when the globules are very large, the statement of the accused must 
at least be considered to be possible, although generally unworthy of 
credit. In the latter case, i.e., when the globules of the animal are 
extraordinarily small, the allegations of the accused will be immediately 
recognised as absolutely false. 

The author's opinion is that in such a case the expert ought to be 
requested to obtain some blood not of one merely but of several of those 
animals and measure the blood globules. Considerations of expense will 
of course be objected and it will be asked what the cost of such informa- 
tion will be. We do not hesitate to state that the money question is of 



value in criminal law only when the expense is snperflous or if like 
results can be obtained by more economical means. Beyond that we 
declare that it is immoral and unworthy of a civilized state to omit to 
obtain information which may condemn a guilty or save an innocent 
man, simply because it would cost too much money ; no citizen should 
complain of seeing the money he has paid in taxes being spent in the 
cause of justice. 

Another question that may be asked is whether the blood in question 
is arterial or venous blood ? This question is generally confounded with 
the following : '* Do traces of blood which have been discovered proceed 
from a large or small wound ? " Venous blood may indeed also spout 
out {e.g., if a brisk movement is given to a wounded member or if it 
is contracted strongly and suddenly), but as a rule only arterial blood 
comes out with any force ; if therefore there are large splashes of 
blood upon an article, especially upon a plane surface, e.g., a wall, it is 
natural to suppose that an artery of a wounded or killed person has 
been severed in the neighbourhood of those splashes. The medical 
man^^'^*"^''^^ can therefore say not only that it is arterial blood but he 
may also be able to indicate at what distance and in what position the 
individual was at the moment when he received the wound. 

In certain circumstances one can and even ought to ask other ques- 
tions. Does the blood come from a wound, or piles, or an abcess ? Is 
it the blood of menstruation or blood lost during defloration ? ^^'''^~^'^^^ Is 
the blood mixed with brain or other matter of the body ? ^379—380) jg j^ 
due to bites of fleas, bugs, or mosquitos ? But it is not always possible 
to answer these questions. A definite decision can only be arrived at 
when foreign matter characteristic of the actual case is found in the 
blood, e.g., absence of fibrine, presence of oxyhemoglobine or blood par- 
ticles in cases of flea and bug bites. In this connection the expert may 
be able to furnish very precious information — but not in every case. 
As regards excrement, and other residua of the blood, proceeding from 
blood-sucking insects, see Schaue7istem^^^\ Janeceh^^'^^, Hofmann^^^^, 
Scliofer ^^^ Frigerio ^^^^\ Briand and Chaud ^^^^\ Ludwig ^^'^\ etc. 

As regards the age of a blood-stain the question may be put but in 
most cases the reply will be vague ^^®^\ The general impression of the 
case, the examination of accessary circumstances and all the material 
available, may perhaps enable the expert to form an opinion on this 
subject. Success is sometimes obtained by employing arsenic or chlori 
water. The reply in every case will be very approximate, at least wh 



there are no other particularly significant circumstances which can be 
taken into account. (See also Chapter XIV.) 

B. Excrement. 

It may be asked whether an expert can shed any light upon the 
examination of excrement. We say without hesitation that the expert 
can give the most valuable information. In regard to this two very 
instructive cases are usually cited in the books. In the first of these a 
person had been murdered — it was probably a crime passionnel. Suspicion 
fell upon a young man the outside of whose trousers was stained with 
human excrement; the examination of these stains and of the foecal 
matter of the intestines of the murdered person showed conclusively that 
there was no connection between the two foecal matters, one coming from 
meat and the other from vegetable food. The second case gave decisive 
results. Near a small town there was discovered floating down a stream 
the corpse of a young woman who had been robbed and murdered. The 
post-mortem was carefully performed and the foecal matter examined 
with attention ; seeds of fresh figs were found in it ; but in the small town 
in question there were fresh figs in the garden of only one house ; with 
the aid of this clue it came out that the servant of that house had enticed 
the young girl into the garden, given her figs, and then raped and killed 
her. The state of digestion of the figs exactly corresponded with the 
time which had elapsed between the eating of the figs and the murder of 
the girl «97). 

In a recent case ^^^^^ an old woman was murdered, and foecal substance 
found at the scene of the crime contained ascarides (thread- worms). The 
excrement of six men suspected of the deed was examined and only in 
that of one man (and that after repeated and varied experiments) were asca- 
rides found. He was charged and convicted of the crime. Excrement 
is also important in other ways. Moller recounts that it was turned to 
good purpose in the case of an arrested criminal whose excrement was 
submitted to microscopic examination after he was taken into custody. 
Although such examination cannot be entirely relied upon, yet it can be 
recommended in some cases. When for example in the case of an 
important criminal the suspected person is arrested very soon after the 
crime, his last dwelling place and nourishment may be of importance, 
and then the examination of his first stool after his arrest is to be 



In treating of superstition {Chapter X) we see that wrong-doers not 
unusually deposit their motions on the place of the crime. In such cases 
the preservation of foecal matter may be of much importance. 

It is recommended that these questions should at least be taken into 

C. Hair. (399). 

Hair may be found under all manner of circumstances and more 
may be learnt from it than is generally supposed. It goes without saying 
that here again the Investigating Officer's business is not to make the 
necessary examination of the hair when found, but in all cases where 
there is any possibility of finding hair which may serve to detect an 
unknown criminal, to look for it and pass it on to a medical man or a 
microscopist. If we consult a scientific work treating on this subject, 
e.g., Dr. Emile Pfaff's^^^\ '' The hair of man, its physiological, patho- 
logical and legal importance, " we shall be able to obtain therefrom 
conclusions as interesting as diverse. 

As to examination of hair it would be out of place to detail here 
all the results of science on the subject, but the author desires, guiding 
himself by the works of Pfaff, L. Sonnenschein and Dr. Alex. Classen ^^^^\ 
Dr. von IIofmann^^^\ and[Z)rs. CEsterlen^^^'^\ Maschka^^^^\ etc., to indi- 
cate from what points of view the microscopist may be useful to the 
Investigating Officer when the latter sends him an important hair. 

We should in the first place not lose sight of the faculty of absorption 
possessed by human hair ; it is capable af absorbing gases, odours, etc., 
with extreme facility and retains them for a relatively long time. This 
detail is of importance when it is desired to determine whether a man, 
be he alive or dead at the moment of examination, has been in a place 
impregnated with a gas or smell, a point upon which the whole case may 
turn. It is true that these gases do not remain for a long time ; the 
examination ought therefore to be undertaken immediately or, if that 
cannot be done, the hair must as far as possible be protected from exterior 
influences. The Investigating Officer ought to take the precaution of 
placing the hair in a perfectly clean receptacle of small size and hermeti- 
cally closed. 

It is hardly necessary to remark that in all such cases the receptacle 
should be clean ; it ought besides to be of relatively small dimensions as: 
superfluous space w^ill absorb the gas of the hair ; finally the manner i 
of its closing must be such as to prevent the air ^scaping. Such 

HAIR 195 

details are frequently overlooked. The hair should be taken with abso- 
lutely clean hands and placed in a bottle having a wide neck and fitted 
with a close fitting cork, or better still, in a receptacle of white metal, 
or in case of need in an ordinary bottle. The stopper or cork and the 
inside of the lid of the metal receptacle, as the case may be, should be 
slighted rubbed over with absolutely pure fat; this fat will render the 
closing more secure, will attract and absorb the escaping gases, and may 
itself be an object for examination. 

Here again the Investigating Officer ought to do what an expert 
would do. He ought to describe with scrupulous exactitude the manner 
in which he has proceeded. The expert will then be able to know if the 
methods followed by the Investigating Officer in preserving the objects 
do not sufficiently guarantee the correctness of his examination, or if on 
the other hand it excludes the possibility of error ; in this way, by stating 
clearly his procedure, the Investigating Officer will be fortified against 
the common objection that such examinations cannot be satisfactory as no 
one knows what has happened to the object while in his hands. 

If the hair is preserved in a box of white metal, the lid may be sold- 
ered on, an operation which the most awkward tinsmith of the village 
will be capable of performing ; but special care must be taken to see that 
he does not heat the box or its contents. On the box being handed to 
the expert, he must be minutely informed of all that has been done ; it is 
then his task to ascertain whether the hair has absorbed and retained 
smoke, perfumes, poisonous vapours, or characteristic odours and gases, etc. 

Another important role of the microscopist consists in examining hair 
which has been found in suspicious places for the purpose of ascertaining 
whether or not it belongs to a particular individual. The commonest 
case is where hair has been found in the hands of persons who have been 
killed. This happens more frequently than one would believe ; indeed 
if the hands of the victims were more carefully examined it would be 
found even more frequently. 

It is often irritating to see how the first constable who arrives or the 
doctor who first inspects the corpse, examines the hand of the dead 
person carelessly and imperfectly : they sometimes even wipe it or seize 
it briskly ; they notice the hair perhaps if it is in tufts in the hands, but 
they most certainly miss isolated hair when they act in this manner. 
The hands must therefore be examined in the most minute manner and 
that only by authorised persons. The preservation of the object when 
found ought to be commenced at once and with all possible care : the 



best thing to do is to fold it in a piece of clean paper and enfold the 
latter in a second piece. On the first or inner cover write at once how 
and by whom the hair has been found. It is not sufficient to state : — 
"hair found in the right hand of N. N.", the situation of the hair must be 
expressly indicated, e.g., " between the thumb and first finger," or " lying 
obliquely across the root of the first finger and the ball of the thumb." 

The best method is to make a drawing — as minute as possible. 
This is not difficult. The Investigating Officer has but to place his 
hand with fingers extended upon a sheet of paper and then trace its 
outline with the pencil. Whether the fingers of the corpse were con- 
tracted or not is indifferent in the present case, the important thing is to 
have a sketch of a hand on which the length and position of the hair 
may be indicated with a stroke of the pencil. Any one is able to make 
a drawing of that kind. 

The drawing {Plate J, Fig. 3) here given has been intentionally made 
in a primitive manner ; and .yet the sketch will show the position of the 
hair better than a long description. It may also be important for the 
expert to know where the end and the root of the hair lay. There are 
two ways of indicating this : — 

1. If the particular hair is not to be handled on account, for instance, 
of blood attaching thereto. The only thing then to be done is to place 
the hair on a sheet of paper and fix it= thereto with bands of paper 
gummed over it {Fig. 4). These bands should not be gummed all over 
but only at the extremities, so as not to injure the hair with the gum ; 
a sketch is then made as before and the extremities of the hair set out on 
the paper carrying the hair itself as well as upon the sketch, using the 
same letters {Figs. 4 lO 5). There can then be no doubt of the position 
of the hair on the hand of the murdered person. 

2. If it is unnecessary to take such precautions, e.g., in the case of 
a hair found in the hand of a strangled or drowned person, the position of 
the root and the tip of the hair may be decided at once ; the procedure 
followed is the same as that of wig and plait makers, who are obliged to 
arrange the hairs so that all the roots and all the tips respectivelyj 
come together. The hair should be therefore seized between the thumbl 
and the first finger {Plate I, Fig. 6) so that the hair is perpendicular (of' 
course the position of the hair in the hand of the dead person has pre- 
viously been well determined). 

Keeping the first finger immoveable the tip of the thumb is rubbed j 
gently up and down the hair using the tip of the first finger as a rest ; the 

Fi(j. 1. 

1^'ig. 2. 

Fig. S. 

Fig. 4. 

Fig. 5. 

Fig. 6. 


Fig. 7. 


HAIR 197 

root of the hair is then of necessity in the same Hne as the hair itsef ; if 
the hair moves downwards the root is below and moves down ; if the di- 
rection in which the hair moves is upwards the root must be above and 
moves upwards, but the tip of the hair must finally lie between the finger 
and thumb. 

Indeed a hair when enlarged and depicted schematically appears as 
in Fig. 7. The hair has corticiform prominences which run from the 
root towards the tip {Fig. 6); when it is between the fingers which rub 
upon one another it can only move if the corticiform prominences catch 
upon the unevennesses of a finger : the hair therefore moves along, the 
root always going away from the finger. When the tip has thus been 
determined or to speak more accurately the direction of the tip, and when 
the root or rather the direction of the root has been established, it is noted 
on the sketch (thus in Fig. 4, instead of a and h we put T and K). 

If several hairs are found the same procedure must be followed for 
each of them ; each one should be separately preserved (presuming that 
they are not stuck together with blood), and each one is placed aside there 
and then. The beginner should take warning not to think that he will 
be able to keep everything in his memory and that it is unnecessary to 
note down and describe everything ; for we do not remember everything, 
particularly after a certain time has elapsed and when the emotions 
which are always produced in an important case interfere with and 
confuse one's impressions. 

The examination of hair may assume an important role in various 
sexual crimes. Two instances are generally cited in the books, in both of 
which the acts were committed with animals; in the first case ^ horse's 
hair was found between the fore-skin and the glans of an individual sus- 
pected of having committed an unnatural crime upon a mare; in the 
second case a servant woman was accused of having had connection with 
a large dog and when the hair of her sexual parts was examined the 
black hair of a dog was discovered. 

The same phenomenon sometimes occurs in cases of rape ; it is pos- 
sible that during violent sexual intercourse the hairs of the sexual parts of 
one person come out and get mixed with those of the other ; and it may 
even happen that on account of uncleanliness they remain there for a fairly 
long time. In such cases therefore it is recommended that an examination 
be made with the object of discovering such strange hairs on both persons 
(that is of the accused as well as of the victim), and if any be discovered 
they should be handed over to an expert for examination. 


It must be remembered that every hair discovered during the course 
of an inquiry may be of the greatest importance when it is possible to 
prove beyond all doubt that it belongs to the accused person. 

Pfaff^*^^ cites a very instructive case which well illustrates this : A 
man was gravely wounded by an unknown person on a very dark night. 
The author of the crime, whose appearance was absolutely unknown, 
dropped his cap in his flight and it was brought to the authorities. 
Inside the cap two hairs were sticking. These hairs were sent to the 
medical jurisprudent for microscopic examination. Pfaff found that the 
hairs were light grey but that they had in the medullary substance a large 
number of pigmentary cells which were as black as jet : he concluded from 
this that the hairs belonged to a dark man still fairly young but who was 
beginning to grow grey. It was also established that the individual must 
have had his hair cut very shortly before the crime for the sections of 
the hairs were still sharp. Finally he found the roots of the hairs were 
very much wasted ; he concluded from this that these hairs, which 
carried mammilliary prominences in their epithelial parts which must 
have been produced owing to perspiration, must have grown at the edge 
of a kind of tonsure caused by the beginnings of baldness^*^°^ and he 
further concluded that the individual in question was inclined to stout- 
ness since he had perspired freely in the head. The observer at the 
microscope thus gave the following description of the criminal : — '*A 
man of middle age, of robust constitution, and inclined to obesity : 
black hair intermingled with grey hair, recently cut ; commencing to 
grow bald." 

Similar deductions may be obtained in many cases ; one must never 
be prevented by the trouble that is necessary nor the cost which must 
be incurred in making them. 

It happens fairly often that a criminal while taking flight or in the 
course of the struggle loses his head-covering and that the latter is 
handed to the Investigating Officer, but how often is this head covering 
examined to see whether or not hairs may be found there and how many 
times when hairs have been found are they sent to a skilled microscopist ? 

Examination of hair is also necessary when we may establish thereby 
the identity of a corpse or the age, constitution, etc., of a dead person, 
which information owing to advanced decomposition would not otherwise 
be obtainable. If there be the least suspicion of crime a little of the 
hair of the corpse should always be taken and handed to a microscopist 
in order that anything which can be established may be established 


HAIE 199 

If the question be asked what in a general way the observer at the 

microscope" can teach us concerning the distinctive characters of hair, the 

answer will be that he is above all and with absolute certainty able to 

distinguish between the fibres of plants and between the hair of animals 

^and the human hair. He also knows how to distinguish between the 

hair which grows on the various parts of the human body. The books 

[set out {e.g., Pfaff^^^^^) the distinctive signs which characterise the various 

dnds of hair, e.g., the hair of the head of a man and the hair of the head 

fof a woman, eye-lashes, eyebrows, the hair of the nose and ear, of the 

)eard and moustache, of the hair in the arm pits and on the back of 

ihe hand, on the forearm, on the shoulder, on the chest, in the pit of the 

stomach and the umbilical parts of a man; also between the hair on the 

pupper and lower parts of the buttocks, on the foot, and on the sexual 

parts of a man and woman, on the perineum, the anus, and the scrotum. 

All these different kinds of hair have their distinctive characteristics 
which prevent any error being made in differentiating between them ; the 
expert may therefore be asked if necessary upon what part of the body 
the hair in question has grown and further whether the said body is that 
of a man or a woman^*^^\ 

The expert is also able, within certain limits no doubt, to determine 
the age of a person by examining some of that person's hair; it is espe- 
cially easy for him to do so if the hair be given to him with its root, for 
the root of a hair dissolves in a solution of caustic potash, and the younger 
the owner of the hair the more easily does it do so ; the hair of children 
will dissolve immediately, but that of old people will resist the action of 
the solution of caustic potash for hours ; with several hairs of the same 
person various experiments may be made and the average time necessary 
for the dissolution of their roots be established ; it may then be determ- 
ined what are the persons of a known age whose hair will dissolve in 
the same space of time and the approximate age of the person whose 
hair is the subject of examination may be thus determined. 

There are indeed other means of determining the age of a person 
from the hair, e.g., by the diminution of the pigmentary cells, of the 
medullary substance, and the spaces or gaps thereby produced ; thanks 
to this means we can tell whether perfectly white hair belongs to a 
young man who is growing grey early in life or to a really old man. 
The hairs of the sexual parts of a young girl have the tips very fine, 
while the tips of those of an old woman are calviform ; in both sexes the 
hair in the arm pits is very slender in youth and as the subject ages it 


will in that locality reach a diameter of '15 millimetres and even more; 
in a word the observer at the microscope has at his disposal, besides 
the met'aods of the dissolution of the roots of hair by a solution of 
caustic potash, the means of furnishing at least approximate information 
as to the age of a person. Moreover, as we have seen, a medical jurispru- 
dent can at least in certain cases indicate with more or less accuracy the 
characteristics of a person from an examination of hair ; sometimes 
indeed he will be able to say in w^hat manner the hair has been looked 
after (use of various pomades, dyes, etc.) from which many an important 
dlue may originate ; even the exterior aspect is able to teach us whether 
it has been drawn out, cut, chopped, and this in some cases is of the 
greatest importance. For instance an examination of hair cut at the 
place where a wound has been made on the head, often teaches us more 
concerning the weapon employed than an examination of the wound 

The Investigating Officer should therefore never neglect to hand over 
the hair to a medico-legal expert for microscopic examination when a 
wound on the head is in question and the weapon employed is unknown. 
Some other circumstances also merit the attention of the Investigating 
Officer; on every occasion that he notices any peculiarity whatsoever 
about the hair of a corpse, either at an inquest or an exhumation, he 
ought to immediately question a medical expert. For instance a common 
symptom in cases of poisoning by arsenic or mercury or narcotics, is the 
easiness with which the hair can be torn out, especially the hair of the 
private parts. 

Hair is of great importance legally from another stand-point, it resists 
decomposition for an extremely long time. It is evident that we cannot 
cite as an example mummies and mummified bodies preserved in vaulted 
tombs or other favourable places, nor even the example of dried pericrania : 
it is natural that the hair will remain preserved when the conditions of 
preservation are so favourable that those parts of a body which putrefy 
easily, such as the muscles, tissues, skin, etc., do not- decompose ; but we 
speak of that large number of corpses which, found in extremely un- 
favourable conditions of preservation, still carry the hair astonishingly 
well preserved. If then the question be whether a corpse ought to be 
exhumed, or whether the time which has elapsed leaves no room for hope 
that an important result will be brought about, the exhumation mustj 
always be decided upon when there is a chance that an examination of' 
the hair of a corpse will furnish any information about the individual,] 

HAIR 201 

as for instance his very identity. If the death of the individual has taken 
place not very long before it must be presumed, if the conditions as to the 
soil, etc., of the place of interment are in any way favourable, that the 
hair is well preserved. Here it may be noted that the hair of young 
persons decomposes more rapidly than that of old persons, that dark hair 
keeps longer than fair hair, and that the hair of the head keeps best of 
all ; the hair of the sexual parts putrefies the most rapidly. 

Gude)'^^^^^ states that hair mixed with substances in putrefaction, 
changes colour to no considerable extent ; at the most it will become a 
little lighter or a little darker. This observation is of importance when 
the identity of a person is sought to be established. 

So Casper Liman^^^^^ draws attention to a case in which the hair of a 
person buried for two years had so altered that his relations would have 
failed to recognize him had not his false teeth precluded any doubt (*i8— 417)^ 
Under such circumstances attention should be drawn to the fact that in 
decay not only temperature, moisture, surroundings, and so on, but also 
very essential individual peculiarities work together, so that conclusions 
drawn from the degree of the decay as to the time of death will be seen 
to be very important^**^\ For the decision of this time the appearance of 
certain insect larvae may be of great importance ^*^*~*^\ A complete 
discussion of the questions relating to Bigor Mortis, Putrefaction, etc., 
and the deductions to be drawn therefrom will be found in the standard 
work on Medical Jurisprudence by Taylor, edited by Stevenson, Vol. I, 
Chaps. Ill — VII. An admirable summary of the question, drawn up 
with special reference to Indian conditions, will be found in "Outlines 
of Medical Jurisprudence for India " by Gribble d- Hehir, Chap. VII. 
Keference may also be made to "Lyon's Medical Jurisprudence for 
India" by Lt. Col. Waddell, I. M. S., (Third Edition), pages 67-74. 

However great the services which are rendered by the microscope 
may be, the jurist must not always count too much upon its assistance. 
Especially is it of help when the identity of hair is in question or the 
determination of whether a particular hair belongs to a particular person. 
If the reply is in the negative, the matter is completely elucidated ; in this 
case we have an absolute proof of the innocence of a man, and that is 
one of the finest triumphs science can bring about; for the observer 
at the microscope is able to say with absolute certainty that a tuft of 
smooth fair hair does not come from a black curly head, and this single 
piece of evidence should suffice to solve the question. But the same 
cannot be said when the question is answered in the affirmative and it 



appears that the two samples of hair are identical ^*^K There is indeed 
but one identicality whereas non-identicality permits of innmnerable 
differences, and in this case, chance may take a much more important 
place than in the former and we criminal lawyers know better than any 
one what chance is capable of doing. Quite recently an old woman 
whose business was the pledging and redeeming of articles at the 
pawn-shops was murdered. In the hand of the corpse were found 
three hairs which the woman must have torn from her aggressor 
during her desperate resistance. Suspicion fell upon the victim's own 
son and the three hairs found upon the corpse as well as some samples 
of the hair of the son (who was in custody) were sent to microscope 
experts. The latter happened to be two scientific celebrities whose 
names were known all over Europe ; they w^ent into the matter witli 
the greatest care and with all the aids of modern science, and cir- 
cumstantiated their results in the most detailed manner. The three 
hairs found in the hand of the corpse were from six to seven ems in 
length, were dark brown in colour, had been torn out (the roots were 
preserved) and seemed to have belonged to a man of from twenty to fort>' 
years old. Under the microscope two of the hairs were brown but the 
third had some parts brown and others black, a fact which immediately 
struck the specialists as well as the outsider. Just above the root it was 
brown, half a centimetre further on it became black, then again brown, 
and half a centimetre further towards the tip it black again. 
This is a phenomenon which specialists tell us is most extraordinary and 
very rare. Hair of the accused person was then taken from three differ- 
ent parts of his head, it being cut just above the roots ; this individual 
was twenty-nine years old, his hair measured from six to seven 
centimetres in length, it was dark brown in colour, and examined under 
the microscope was about the same thickness as the three hairs. Finally 
they counted the hairs and placed them one by one under the microscope ; 
about two-thirds of the hairs were brown and the other third presented 
absolutely the same peculiarity as the brown and black striped hair 
mentioned above. And yet the son in spite of the strange coincidence of 
this phenomenon, which according to these experienced medical men is 
so rare, was not the assassin of his mother ; when subsequently thc^ 
murderer of the old woman was discovered it was found that his hair was 
also striped in the same way and was astonishingly like that of the son 
of the deceased woman. We learn from this case that even the fact, 
that distinctive signs of quite exceptional character are to be found in 


both the specimens examined, does not always prove that the hair under 
comparison is indeed hair coixiing from the same head. 

Almost every man has on his head a few of the other essentially 
different hairs, for instance blonde persons have almost always a few dark 
thick hairs. The author knows a lady who has rich wavy soft hair, but 
on one place, about as big as a rupee, on account of a scar caused by a 
wound received early in life, the hair is straight, rough to the feel, and 
noticeably lighter in shade. No one would believe that a hair from the 
scarred place and one from another portion of the head belonged to the 
same person. 

Dr. Guder remarks that, when proof of the " identicality " of hairs is 
to be considered, the matters with which they are artificially coloured 
must not be forgotten ; this colouring matter may be got rid of in vari- 
ous ways, e.g., washing in water, dilute hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, or 
chlorine water. 

D. Other cases relating to Medicine. 

Besides the cases already mentioned, which are frequent enough, the 
Investigating Otlicer will order microscopic examination in cases relating 
to post-mo rteitis and other medico-legal inquiries. Suppose for instance 
that the question is to establish whether an individual has been in an 
atmosphere filled with dust, smoke, or other substance, or in a liquid 
other than pure water, the microscopic examination of the respira- 
tory channels and also often of the hair will generally furnish accurate 
information ; the spittle of living persons and the contents of the 
respiratory channels of dead persons should be examined. Even a 
microscopic examination of substances contained in the stomach (obtained 
by vomiting or at the post-viortem) often gives better results than a 
chemical examination wall, when it is desired to determine, e.g., the 
nature of the food absorbed ^*^*^ ; the same holds if organic poisoning be 
suspected — especially vegetable poisons, the presence of which cannot 
always be proved chemically^*^^\ 

The author is firmly convinced that a great number of murders by 
poison would be discovered if the contents of the stomachs of people 
dying by " suicide " or whose cause of death is set down as doubtful 
were examined. Considering the great number of poisonous plants which 
grow freely on the earth, and remembering that their properties are 
known to everyone and that the alkaloids of a certain number of them 
can hardly be determined, we cannot help being convinced that many 



plants are employed for criminal pm'poses much oftener than is officially 

An old botanist, Dioscorides von Anazarhos, concludes his ''Botany'' 
with these words ** There are many other plants growing in the fields 
and forests, hedgerows and brushwood, but no one knows their names 
any more than I do ; as regards poisonous plants we are in much the 
same position as we were 2000 years ago." 

If we take the first work on toxicology to hand (as Blyth on Poisons) 
or a treatise on the poisonous plants of a country or even a work on 
legal chemistry or for India such a book as Cheevers' or Lyon's " Medical 
Jurisprudence," we will find a number of noxious plants enumerated of 
which it is said that the proof of their having been absorbed by a human 
organism can only be determined by botano-microscopic means, that is to 
say that the botanist ought to search for particles of the plants in eva- 
cuated and digested matter and examine and determine their nature. 
We cite but a few of these plants : — the water hemlock (Cicuta virosa) ; 
the little hemlock (Aethusa cinapiivm) ; the water oenanthe (Oenanthe 
crocata) ; the spurred rye (Secale cornutum) ; the black hellebore (Hel- 
leborus niger) ; the sabine (Juniperus sahina) ; and all the poisonous 
mushrooms and toadstools, etc. All these plants may be easily found 
anywhere in Europe ; in one evening ramble enough may be collected to 
poison a whole village. 

Several of these plants, as the sabine and hemlocks, are to be found 
in India. There also are commonly met with, the Sabadilla {Veratrum 
officinale) ; Veratrwn album, viride, &c., commonly called hellebores ; 
marking nuts {Semecarpus anacardium) ; Madar {Calotropis gigantea) ; 
croton seeds and oil (Croton tiglium) ; and Datura (Datura fastuosa) . 
As most of these plants are administered in India, both as poisons and 
as abortifacients, in the form of seeds, leaves, bark, &c., it is evident 
that microscopical examination for the purpose of detecting solid parti- 
cles, where these are not visible to the naked eye, is of prime importance. 
Both marking nut and specially the Lal-chitra, or Plumbago root, 
{Plumbago Zeylanica), is introduced in solid pieces into the vagina as 
an irritant ; portions being frequently retained, death is the common 
result of non-expulsion (see Chap. XVI., Sees, vi d vii.) 

The microscopic proof will not be very difficult to carry out, if the 
plant has been given in its entirety that is to say as a vegetable or even 
as a dish {e.g., toadstools served up as mushrooms). It is usually easi 
discovered in the stomach, intestines, or vomited matter, etc ; if it ha 



been given as a decoction it will perhaps be possible to find in the urine 
a more or less large particle of the plant. The greater number of these 
noxious plants have so characteristic an aspect that a small piece such 
as the point of a leaf or the fragment of a thorn, is sutticient for the 
microscopist and botanist to recognise ^*^'^^ (see Chap. V, Sec. vi ; Chap. 
XVI, Sec. vi). 

As to microscopic examination applied to Fire-arms and Ammunition, 
see Chap. XI, d Chap. XVI, Sec. iii. 

E. Falsification of writing (428-429). 

The first examination to which writing, supposed to have been 
[falsified, is submitted, is that of the microscope : the microscope in no 
[way damages the object and in every case brings us very near the 
solution of the problem. Manipulations made upon the paper, such as 
'erasures, obliterating with water, the employment of corrosives, etc., 
which are invisible to the naked eye, become astonishingly clear under 
the microscope. 

Differences between makes of paper may be discovered with complete 
certainty, as when for instance a false sheet of paper which has an 
absolute resemblance to the other sheets, at least as regards its exterior 
aspect, is inserted into a document ; false seals, water-marks, false grease- 
spots, and yellow-stains, may all be at once discovered under the micros- 
cope ; the ink of genuine writing will resemble, to the naked eye, that 
of the forged part, but under the microscope differences will appear so 
clearly that they will be recognised by the naked eye, attention having 
been thus directed to them. Even the nature of the pen employed may 
be deduced and it may be determined whether the pen had a sharp point 
and entered the paper deeply, or whether it had a broad and soft point 
which glided lightly over the paper. Thanks to the enlargement, writing 
executed with a steel pen may be distinguished from that done with 
a quill, or that with a hard pencil from that with a soft one, etc., («o— *3i>. 
See "Falsification of documents," Chap. XVIII, Sec. ii., and the present 
chapter Sec. viii.) 

F. Examination of Cloth, Woollens, Linen, &c. 

The examination of cloth stuffs is of some importance when the 
question is the identification of woollen cloth, linen, thread, paper, &c. It 



goes without saying that in these cases the advice of a merchant or manu- 
facturer will in the first place be taken when it is desired to know whether 
a piece of cloth belongs to such and such a weaving, or a piece of paper 
bearing a certain trade-mark has been made by a particular mill, etc. 
In ordinary thefts that is what will have to be done ; but if the case 
is one of great importance the advice of a manufacturer, merchant, etc., 
will not be sufficient, but an expert will have to be questioned. With 
the help of a microscope the latter will be able to judge of the fineness of 
a stuff by the number and the" strength of the threads which cover a 
square centimetre of the texture, as well as by the manner in which they 
are twisted ; as regards each individual thread he will determine its sub- 
stance and state whether it is of cotton, flax, wool, or silk, etc. ; finally, he 
will be able to say by studying other details whether the fragment found 
is part of a particular garment, whether a handkerchief has been taken 
from a certain dozen of handkerchiefs, whether the threads with which 
a corpus delicti has been sewn are the same as those which have been 
employed in mending the coat of a person suspected, or whether the paper 
forming the wad of a fire-arm is the same as that found in the house of 
the presumed murderer, etc. The manufacturer would have made a 
thousand mistakes and would have declared, e.g., that a particular stuff 
was made by him when in fact it had been cleverly imitated by the 
criminal, but the microscope would not be duped in this way. 

The cases in which examination is necessary are more numerous than 
one would believe. But it will be always well when the identity of 
material is in question not to be content with an exterior resemblance 
however similar the articles in comparison may appear to be ; the observer 
at the microscope ought always to be examined before forming a conclu- 
sive judgment. Experience teaches us that many things Which are 
really identical are thought to be different and inversely many things 
appear to be absolutely similar which are in fact not at all so. 

The identity of a thread is often of extreme importance and may be 
established by the microscopist with very great accuracy. It must not 
be forgotten that to obtain his results it suffices to have almost imper- 
ceptible little ends of threads and such are always at our disposj 
whenever a wrong doer leaves some object behind him on the scene oj 
the crime. In one case some threads offered important clues : thes( 
threads had been sewn into an apron which had been left behind b] 
some burglars. The apron w^as of the same blue linen used in the apron^ 
of innumerable workmen, but the thread of the hem was without doul 


the same as the only sewing thread found in the house of a suspected 
individual. Here is another example : the thread with which the 
exercise book of a schoolboy had been sewn together established the 
identity of the corpse of a child. There was no doubt that an outrageous 
and murderous attack had been made upon the child whose corpse was 
found in a nude and half decomposed condition under some branches in 
a forest. The school books of the child were missing ; at a short distance 
fronj the corpse was found an exercise book in fairly good preservation ; 
the cover and the written pages had been torn away and no definite 
indication could be obtained from the book. But the mother of the 
child knew with what thread she had sewn up the last exercise book 
of the child and she handed it to the Investigating Officer and micros- 
copic examination proved the two threads to be the same. In another 
case a thread with which some strips of tinder had been sewn together 
(for the detailed account of this case see under Arson, Chap. XIX) 
was compared with a thread in the fur cap of the accused and brought 
about his conviction. In another case a microscopic particle of thread 
had remained attached to a chisel at the place where the blade meets the 
handle. The experts were able to affirm that the particle of thread must 
have belonged to the upper border of the pocket of the waistcoat worn by 
the supposed criminal on the day of the crime. 

The observer at the microscope can also give us much information as 
regards linen from which the marks have been unpicked. Extreme care 
and special skill are required for this operation, to enable him to tell that at 
such and such a place a mark has been unpicked ; but in the majority of 
cases he will be able to give us the most ample information and discover 
what has been unpicked at the place. This information is of great 
importance when it is desired to establish whether the unpicked mark is 
identical with that on another garment, {e.g., of the same dozen). In 
this case the observer at the microscope will look for the little traces of 
the thread with which the mark was made; he will nearly always find 
these traces especially when the linen has been washed and ironed several 
times ; if the piece of thread found is then compared under the micros- 
cope with the thread with which the other articles have been marked it 
is possible to estabHsh its identity with almost absolute certainty. 

It is hardly necessary to mention that it is often of great utility 
to make an attentive examination of paper : in serious cases of forged 
documents, libels, threats, and all other crimes committed with or on 
paper, domicihary search is frequently indispensable and will always 


bring about the discovery of a more or less large quantity of paper 
belonging to the accused. If paper presenting the least resemblance to 
the subject-matter of the crime be found, it should always be submitted 
to the examination of the specialist. The objection will be often wrongly 
made that the majority of the people of a locality buy their paper at 
the same establishment or at least at a very small number of establish- 
ments, so that the most certain proof of the identity of two papers 
cannot serve for very much. But in these cases it is characteristic that 
nearly every individual who commits a forgery is afraid to make use of 
paper sold in his own neighbourhood. Experience teaches us that if 
such a document be shown to sellers of paper near the house of the 
accused the result will nearly always be negative ; the paper in question 
will not be found to form part of the recent stock in such shops, for the 
author of the crime is afraid to use this paper ; in most cases the corpus 
delicti is torn from an exercise or other book, or is the second page of a 
sheet of paper of which the first sheet has been already used. If the other 
half is found at the residence of the accused the proof of identity made 
by the observer at the microscope will be practically conclusive. 

G. Examination of stains. 

It may be affirmed with almost absolute certainty that the examination 
of stains is a veritable touch-stone for the observer at the microscope. 
Here he can obtain the most decisive proof from the smallest and, in 
appearance, the most insignificant objects, but in this class of cases the 
Investigating Officer also has an opportunity of showing his skill in 
carefully preserving the corpus delicti in its original condition and 
without in any way damaging the stains. But will he be able, generally 
speaking, to fix his attention upon these little objects, and, from the 
results furnished by the expert, draw the conclusions which proceed from 
them ? Here again it is the old question, all the skill of an Investigating 
Officer consists in knowledge how to conclude, combine, and utilise. 
Let us take a few examples hap-hazard showing the great value of the 
examination of stains. 

1. On Weapons and Tools. 

Besides those cases in which blood is the object of search the exami 
nation of weapons is important for other reasons ; the weapon may f( 


instance while being cleaned or carried about be dirtied by contact with 
various substances. The following case has come to the knowledge of 
the author. A drunk and swearing individual entered the garden of a 
cafe where he met a dragoon who split his skull with a blow of his 
sabre. At the request of the Investigating Ofhcer all the sabres of the 
dragoons who had leave from barracks on the previous day were collected 
next morning and submitted to microscopic examination. No trace of 
blood was found upon any of them, but one had a tiny little notch 
in its cutting edge in which was a fragment of a blade of grass which 
was hardly visible in spite of considerable enlargement under the micros- 
cope. As the inquiry had been commenced at once and as the blade of 
grass in the notch had been sufficiently protected by the sheath of the 
sabre to prevent it from drying, it was possible to say that this blade of 
grass could not have been sticking to the sabre for any length of time, 
since it had preserved its freshness. The dragoon to whom the sabre 
belonged must have, as indeed he afterwards confessed, cleaned his blade 
upon the wet grass after having delivered the blow ; he had then wiped 
it with a cloth, but the fragment of grass had remained in the notch. 
This case is instructive, for it shows that the examination should not be 
restricted to the search for a single object (as in this case traces of blood) 
but it ought to be extended to all the isolated or extraordinary peculiarities 
which the object may possess ; but the work of the expert is of no real 
utihty if he be not instructed as widely as possible by the Investigat- 
ing Officer upon the course of the case and its smallest details. If in 
the above case the expert had received an order only to look for traces of 
blood upon the sabre, he would have fulfilled his task by merely giving a 
reply in the negative. But here he knew the case in detail and he was 
able at the first sight of the blade of grass to make up his mind as to how 
it came there and say that it was of the greatest importance. 

In the same way traces of earth, dust, fibres, and dried up liquids, 
etc., may furnish excellent clues. 

The Investigating Officer will of course never dispense with the 
obligation to order microscopic examination for the sole reason that he 
can see nothing particular upon the weapon in question, etc. ; in the 
first place the microscope will be able to bring about the discovery of 
many important things which have not been perceived by the naked 
eye, and in the second place every expert knows that he ought to take 
the weapon or instrument to pieces and search for suspicious sub- 
stances in the joints and places of adjustment. Thus a hatchet may 
- 27 


have been cleaned in the most careful manner, so that nothing will be 
discoverable even vy^ith a microscope ; but if the iron be separated from 
the handle perhaps objects of great importance will be found either in 
the aperture or on the part of the handle where it meets and joins the 

The following instance may be cited. In a district where hops are 
grown with much success a large quantity were cut down one day, a 
short time before the harvest, to about the height of a metre from the 
ground. These hops belonged to one of the most skilful cultivators 
and, the plants dying, he suffered damage to the extent of more than a 
thousand florins. Suspicion fell upon a neighbour who also grew hops 
but with much less success ; that he envied his more skilful and industrious 
competitor was well known, for he had made no attempt to hide his feelings. 
The police officer who made the first inquiries had already on the day 
following the crime taken possession of the pocket knife of this person 
and handed it to the Investigating Officer. It was a large knife with a 
very strong bent blade such as is used by gardeners and vinetenders; 
there was only one peculiarity about it, it had been quite newly sharpened. 
One could not help thinking on seeing it that it would be an excellent 
instrument for easily and quickly, in passing so to speak, cutting down 
strong branches of hops. The knife was handed to a medico-legal man 
who was a thoroughly good operator with the microscope, and he was 
completely instructed upon the case. The inquiry necessitated preliminarx 
study, consisting of the examination under the microscope of the structure 
of the hop plant and especially of its rind. It was found that the 
branches of hop were covered with little and big spurs of a very charac- 
teristic nature; the rind or peel of a large number of other plants which 
also have these little spurs was then examined and the spurs thereon were 
found to be so different that it was absolutely impossible to confound 
them with those of hops when placed under the microscope. Even those 
spm'S which resembled them the most, namely, the spurs on the branches 
and stalks of the melon, the cucumber, and the pumpkin, have distinc- 
tive signs which exclude all possibility of mistake. The outside of the 
knife was examined, but nothing was discovered ; the rivets were then 
taken out and on a close examination of the place where the end of the 
blade is joined to the handle a large number of such spurs were found ; 
on examination under the microscope they were found to be spurs of the 
hop plant ; and it was impossible for any one to doubt that the knife had 
been used quite recently to cut hops. 

DUST 211 

On another occasion the microscope was instrumental in turnishing 
an important proof that a bar of iron, in the form of a crowbar, carried 
traces of brick dust. This piece of iron had a rusty place about 4 to 5 
inches from its sharp end and there a red stain was noticed. Under the 
microscope it was found that this stain was the remains of some brick 
dust incrusted in the iron ; there was no manner of doubt that this rusty 
part of the crowbar had been brought down with force upon a brick. Now 
in the case of burglary in question a similar instrument had been made 
use of as a lever in attacking a wall ; it could therefore be presumed that 
the crowbar had been inserted into the wall and had been pressed with 
force against a brick, thus causing the stain in question. Moreover this 
particular crowbar had been in constant use so that the brick dust could 
not have been of long standing, it was therefore practically certain that 
this instrument had been employed in this burglary. 

Very often one can also decide with regard to instruments for working 
in wood, whether they have been used for certain work, as by notches in 
pickaxes, hatchets, large knives, chisels, etc., in which may be seen with 
the magnifying glass remains of the material. In the same way it can be 
decided what sort of wood has been sawn by the teeth of a saw. Thus 
it was once shown by microscopic examination that certain sawdust in 
the teeth of a saw proceeded from pine-wood not cherry-wood, although 
the bystanders could not be sure about it with ordinary eyesight^*^^^ 

The dirt under the finger nails of the victim and of the alleged author 
of the crime should also be examined under the microscope. This dirt 
teaches us in the most definite way what has taken place, for it is com- 
posed of what has last come into contact with the individual in question. 
If the latter be a living person no time should be lost in taking possession 
of the dirt. 

We remember a case, e.g., in which there was grave suspicion that 
the dirt under the linger nails of a criminal proceeded from blood. The 
microscopic examination (carried out at the inquiry oftice in Nuremberg, 
1896) decided that the colouring substance was berlin blue^*^^\ 

2. Dust. 

According to Liebeg, dirt is matter in the wrong place ; so we may 
say dust is our environment or surroundings in miniature. An object 
covered with dust gathers to itself infinitesimal particles of bodies which 
happen to be at a greater or less distance from it. Neither dirt nor dust 



are determinate bodies ; the former is composed of small particles which 
come into contact with an object and remain there for some reason or 
other ; while the latter is composed of small particles ground up to form 
the powder deposited upon the object. Dust may indeed be brought 
from great distances by the wind, but in the majority of cases it comes 
from the immediate neighbourhood ; thus by recognising the constituents 
of the dust upon a specified article it is possible to indicate approxi- 
mately the objects surrounding it. 

The dust of the desert will contain little besides pulverised earth, 
sand, and small particles of plants ; the dust of a ball-room, crowded with 
people, will in great measure proceed from the fibres from which the 
clothes of the dancers are woven; the dust of a smith's shop will be for 
the most part composed of pulverised metal ; and that upon the books of 
a study nothing but the reunion of the particles of earth carried in on 
the boots of the master of the house and the servants with very tiny 
particles of paper. Examining more closely, we find that the coat of 
a locksmith contains a different kind of dust to that on the coat of a 
miller : that accumulated in the pocket of a school-boy is essentially 
different from that in the pocket of a chemist; while in the groove of 
the pocket-knife of a dandy a different kind of dust will be found to 
that in the pocket-knife of a tramp. All these examples are drawn 
from the author's own practice and in all of them neither a deter- 
minate body nor a particular particle of a determinate body was being 
searched for ; but the dust was collected for microscopic examination 
and in each case new clues were found therefrom enabling the inquiry to 

One day, for instance, there was found upon the scene of a crime a 
garment from which no information could be obtained as to its owner. 
The coat was placed in a strong and well gummed paper bag which 
was beaten with sticks as vigorously and for as long a time as could be 
done without the paper tearing ; the packet was left alone for a short 
time and then opened, the dust being carefully collected and submitted to 
a Chemical Examiner. Examination proved that the dust was entirely 
composed of woody fibrous matter finely pulverised ; the deductioxi drawn 
was that the coat belonged to a carpenter, joiner, or sawyer, etc. But 
among the dust much gelatine and powdered glue was found, this not 
being used by carpenters or sawyers the further deduction was drawn 
that the garment -belonged to a joiner, — which turned out to be in fa^ 
the case. 

be m f^^ll 

DUST 213 

The dust which collects, so quickly and in such quantities, in the 
pockets of clothes is also very important ; this is especially so when the 
clothes are not frequently brushed and shaken. It tells us from its 
composition the whole history of a person during the time he has worn 
the garment. In the first place it is no doubt composed of pulverised 
particles of the material of which the pocket is made ; to this is added 
the dust of the atmosphere in which the person lives, which may- 
enter the pocket directly or through the cloth or other fabric ; then 
there is the dust deposited by articles placed in the pocket, such as 
crumbs of bread, tobacco dust, particles of paper, metallic powder, wood 
dust, etc. ; finally we have the dust covering the hands so often placed 
in the pockets. All this forms a composition which will contain at least 
one element from which the quality, trade, and occupation of a person 
may be determined. 

Just as important is the dust in the groove of a pocket knife, i.e., in 
the space between the two sides of the handle in which the blade lies 
when the knife is shut. However clean a pocket knife be kept, an as- 
tonishingly large quantity of dust and even larger particles will collect in 
it. In almost all cases the nature of this dust can be accurately deter- 
mined, and it indicates with the greatest certainty where the knife has 
been and what it has done. All such articles, always or nearly always 
carried on the person, give the same information, e.g., the leather folds of 
the outside of a purse or card case, the outside edge of a watch case, as 
well as the interior edge (which is indeed called the " dust catch"), also 
the jewels of watches with the incrustations thereon, which pick up all 
manner of dust. Examinations of this description should be undertaken 
in all cases where it is desired to establish the identity of a person who 
carries such articles about him, and also when the articles are found by 
themselves and information is sought regarding their owner, and finally 
when the articles are found in the possession of people who have evidently 
no right to them and their true owner is being searched for. 

No doubt examinations of this sort never guarantee certain success ; 
but they should not for all that be classed among those '* forlorn hopes " 
employed when we are at our wit's end to know what to do. If the 
work be executed with care by the expert or Investigating Officer the 
percentage of successes will not be inconsiderable, especially if we have 
other materials and clues to aid, as unfortunately is not always the case, 
with which the results obtained by microscopic means may be combined. 
It may be confidently asserted that it is never allowable to neglect these 


inquiries in any case of importance. They may succed, and this is suffi- 
cient reason for saying that it would be unpardonable to neglect them ; 
and if this microcosmic inquiry does succeed, the Investigating Officer 
may say with pride ''Das sind die Kleinen von den Meinen.'' "These 
little ones are mine" iFaitst). His little sprites indeed will have obeyed 
and seconded him. 

S. Stains un Clothes, etc. 

Here again microscopic examination is generally restricted to the 
search for stains of blood and sperm ; and yet what precious information 
can we not obtain in other directions. In a crime of any importance no 
stain on the clothes of a suspected person should be permitted to pass 
unnoticed ; nor must one allow oneself to be drawn into forming a 
preconceived opinion and asserting : " who knows from what time this 
stain, which has moreover no connection with the crime, dates? " But it 
is impossible to distinguish with the naked eye whether a stain is really too 
old to be of use, while with a microscope the matter may perhaps assume 
quite a different complexion. We cannot then assert at first sight that a 
stain has no connection with the crime, microscopic examination is alone 
capable of telling us this ; and even the connection may not be discovered 
at once, but only on subsequent investigation ; besides it is not necessary 
for the stain to have direct connection with the crime to make its composi- 
tion a matter of interest. Thus we may instanco the discovery, in a 
murder case, upon the trousers of the suspected murderer, of a large stain 
of singular aspect, which had thickened and stiffened the material at one 
place. The microscopist, who was examining the trousers for blood 
stains, examined this stain under the microscope and was able to establish 
that it was composed of a mixture of ashes, sawdust and glue; it was 
therefore putty with which joiners fill up cracks and other inequalities in 
wood. This stain could not possibly have any connection with the crime, 
for investigation of the locus in quo proved that there was none of this 
fresh putty about. But the Investigating Officer questioned the suspected 
individual upon the origin of this stain and received, though in a slow 
hesitating manner, what seemed to be a fairly satisfactory explanation, 
which however he proceeded to verify. As the inquiry became long drawn 
out and no further proof could be adduced against the suspect, he was on 
the point of being released, when it was found that his explanation was 
completely false. It was presumed that his conscience was not perfectly 


clean as he had attached importance to a stain of whose origin perhaps 
even he himself was unaware, and had thought fit to recite an entirely 
false story about it. His release was postponed and he was subsequently 
convicted of the crime. 

Microscopic examination of marks of dirt will often be regarded as 
the only experiment possible when one has no halting-place for the 
purpose of carrying out a long and costly chemical examination, and it is 
necessary at least partially to decide the question. By a microscopic 
examination little or nothing is lost. It' costs little, can be quickly per- 
formed, and perhaps a decision can be arrived at. For example, marks 
taken for stains of sperm might under microscopic examination prove 
to be paste, food, etc. Even if the microscope gives no sure information, 
one can always have recourse to chemical examination. 

Speaking generally it may be said that what has been stated above 
concerning dirt and dust applies equally to stains on clothes : they 
proceed from the place where the wearer of them has been and also from 
those substances with which he comes in contact. In many criminal 
trials, the work of the Investigating Officer consists entirely in esta- 
blishing at what place the accused was at a specified time. The stains 
which he discovers and the nature of which he can identify will perhaps 
enable him to determine at least some stages of the road followed by 
the accused. 

4. Mud on Footivear. 

Mud or sand attaching to feet and footwear often indicates more 
readily than the most minute investigations the place where the indivi- 
dual carrying it has been. Such examinations are of the greatest interest 
when we have to deal with dead bodies or suspected persons; it is desired, 
e.g., to know whence come the former and where they have stopped last, 
or again whether the latter have been at the place of the crime. 

It goes without saying that such an inquiry has small chance of 
being conclusive if the ground is every w^here of uniform nature, e.g., the 
same clayey soil for several leagues around, or mud in the streets of 
a city, etc. But even in these cases it would be imprudent to advise the 
neglect of examination of the mud upon boots, shoes, sandals, or other 
footwear, and on feet, for such examination may possibly bring about the 
discovery of fresh details sufficient at least to indicate the direction in 
which subsequent information may be employed. 


Suppose the case of a man found dead in a town ; there is every 
reason to beHeve that he has not left the town ; there is no other mud 
upon his shoes than that of the streets, which is practically identical 
throughout the town. If it is important to know where the individual 
has last been, e.g., whether he has been killed far from or near to the 
place where his body has been discovered, it will be well, at all hazards, 
to hand over his shoes to the microscopist who will examine the various 
elements of the mud upon them ; it is even possible for these elements to 
allow of certain conclusions; e^g., manure, vegetable debris, the fruit of 
trees, to be found only in certain roads and lanes in the city, may be 
discovered ; also fragments of minerals only employed in the composition 
of certain roads, or chalk, or brick dust, which permit of the deduction 
that the man has been in a workshop or manufactory. 

The matter is easier and has more chances of success when the 
investigation takes place in the country ; there the nature of the soil is 
more varied ; the rooms of the houses are not paved and the floors are often 
covered with characteristic materials. The author is acquainted with 
two cases of this kind. In one it was desired to convict a man of theft 
in a mill ; in the other the accused was suspected of having hidden a large] 
sum of stolen money in a hollow willow tree near the bank of a stream. 
In both cases the mud on the boots of the accused was examined and in 
both cases two layers of mud were found separated from one another, in 
the first case by flour and in the second by fine sand. In the former the 
accused had walked with muddy boots in the flour lying about the 
mill : in the latter he had also w^alked, first in the mud, then in the 
sand of the river bank, and then again in the mud. In both cases the 
two layers of mud and the intermediate substances were identified so 
thoroughly tis to preclude all doubt as to their origin. 

Prof. JesericM^^^ gives a third case in which diatoma were found in 
the sand sticking to the shoes of a murdered person, whereby the place 
w^here the man must have been was ascertained. 

Section iv.— The Chemical Analyst. 

Here we may be brief ; in effect, the chemist will be employed in all 
cases in which the microscopist may be called in. In many cases both 
are necessary, for there are few cases of a purely chemical category ; the 
analyst has frequent recourse to the magnifying glass or microscope 
before or after his chemical work, for the purpose of completing or check- 
ing it. Conversely, the microscopist can hardly do analyst's work, and so 


we can only attain satisfactory results from the combined action of the 
microscopist and chemical analyst. Speaking generally we may say that 
the Investigating Officer does not employ the analyst or chemical exam- 
iner frequently enough, and that many cases which have remained in a 
state of obscurity would have taken another turn if the expert had been 
consulted. This is especially true in all cases of poisoning, where recourse 
to a chemist is only had where pieces of arsenic as big as a pea, or a strong 
odour of phosphorus, opium, or other substances which exclude all 
doubt, are found in the stomach. Yet we feel we cannot be reproached 
with looking at the dark side of things when we assert that the Chemical 
Examiner should be resorted to in every case of sudden death which the 
inquest has not completely explained, or even in the case of a long illness 
w^hich, without natural reasons, has ended in death, and this especially if 
any possibility of a criminal prosecution arises ^*^^\ When one skims 
through a work on medical jurisprudence and notes the numerous 
substances which, in relatively small doses, are capable of causing 
a man's death, w^hen one remembers the uncertainty of the signs of 
poisoning as revealed by the history of the patient's illness and the 
death-certificate, and when, finally, one thinks of the modern exten- 
sive diffusion of superficial chemical knowledge, and the facility with 
which nearly all chemical products, even the most dangerous, are 
procurable, one is astonished that many cases of poisoning even 
more difiicult to discover do not occur. The Investigating Officer 
ought therefore always to pay attention to the possibiHties in these 
cases and considerations of money and trouble should not be allowed to 
enter into the question. 

Nor should the other side of the matter be lost sight of. Often 
death remains unexplained and is believed to indicate a crime, whereby 
suspicion may rest for long years upon the innocent ^*^\ It is the duty 
of the Investigating Officer to prevent the happening of such a state of 
things just as much as it is his duty to bring about the conviction of the 
guilty. We are aware of a large number of substances, not venomous by 
nature, which, when they become tainted, are harmful or deadly; they 
may be absorbed through imprudence or without anyone being to blame, 
so it is allowable to presume that these substances have caused inex- 
pHcable and suspicious deaths. But the chemist if consulted would clear 
up the matter. Take, for example, poisoning by coal gas, trichinous or 
tainted meat, poison developed in sausages or cheese, poisoned shell-fish, 
oysters, lobsters, tainted fish, wine, beer, vinegar or other articles of 




everyday use, in fact the whole range of ptomaine poisons, finally the 
frequent cases of poisoning through culinary utensils (*37-439) 

The ptomaine alkaloids {e.g., collidine) lead to the most serious 
mistakes; they may arise entirely through the decomposition of the dead 
body, are often highly poisonous, and in many cases bear a great re- 
semblance to the plant alkaloids. Their behaviour under physiological 
tests may also lead to confusion. For full details the reader will refer to 
such standard works as Lauder Brunton's "Materia Medica," and Blyth 
on "Poisons." A useful working summary will be found in "Legal 
Medicine" by Major Collis Barry, I.M.S., Vol. I. Chap. XLIII. Equally 
important in this connection is poisoning by carbon monoxide fumes. 
Brouardel, Descofist, Ogier, and Hofmann^*^^^ relate a case in which a man 
was killed through gas fumes in a limekiln. His wife though innocent 
was condemned as a murderess and remained in prison for some years. 

In short every suspicious death requires minute investigation by the 
Investigating Officer ; it is not sufficient merely to ask the analyst 
whether there be poison in such and such a stomach, without giving him 
any indication of the direction his researches should take ; if he has no 
starting point his examination becomes difficult and costly ; but, if he 
knows all that the Investigating Officer has been able to learn in his 
inquiry, he will easily, quickly, and surely complete his share of the work. 

If we wish to know what the Investigating Officer can demand of the 
chemist, we should say : the Investigating Officer ought not to have 
too many scruples in this connection especially as regards the question of 
time. We know that after a long space of time the existence of certain 
poisons, particularly arsenic,* is ascertained^"^"*^^^ and the interval during 
which organic poisons may be discovered after their absorption is never 
so short as is commonly believed. Soniienscliein and Classen found that 
traces of morphia in the intestines could be discovered after 18 months, 
although the corpse had been buried in circumstances favouring decom- 
position ; it is not therefore for the Investigating Officer to decide whether 
too much time has clasped since the death of the victim ^***-"^\ Let 
him leave the solution of this question to conscientious and experienced 

Moreover, the Investigating Officer ought not to fear, in certain cir- 
cumstances, to raise the question of whether the poison has not bee 

* PriJlss relates that once on the deal boards of a floor upon which a person poisoned 
by arsenic had spit, arsenic was still found, although the floor had been scrubbed 40 timi 
Phosphorus has been discovered six weeks after death. 



introduced into the body otherwise than by the mouth, but has been 
given perhaps in quite another manner, e.g., through a wound either 
ah'eady existing or made on purpose. It is related, it is true in a 
novel, that in a certain German Military Hospital (1871) a jealous 
woman, who was acting as a nurse, took from the wound of a soldier 
on the point of death a composition of blood and pus which she intro- 
duced into the wound of another soldier who was shghtly wounded, with 
the object of bringing about his death /**^^ As we have stated, it is simply 
a story from a novel but the thing is quite possible. Just as possible, 
and indeed very frequent, are cases of death caused by the prick .of a 
poisoned needle. These wounds are made in passing and no one pays 
attention to them, owing to their apparent insignificance ^**^\ Such are 
some of the difficult questions an analyst may be asked. Besides in 
inquiries relating to the death of a man the Investigating Officer will also 
have recourse to the analyst in all those cases which belong specifically to 
the sphere of the microscopist. The Investigating Officer will himself get 
to know by practice which of the two will be capable of solving a particular 
question ; but if he does not know, no great harm will be done ; for the 
specialist he asks will soon tell him that the work is the business of his 
colleagues ^**^\ 

Section y. — The Expert in Physics. 

If the medical jurisprudent cannot enlighten us, if the microscopist 
and chemical analyst are incapable of elucidating the matter, recourse 
must be had to the expert in physics. The cases in which one can and 
ought to approach him are legion ; no one would be able to completely 
enumerate them ; each day brings new ones and every zealous Investi- 
gating Officer, desirous of developing his knowledge, will increase them 
yet more. Here we will again repeat an observation already made ; in 
order that the physicist may lend his aid to the Investigating Officer 
the latter must ask him for it. The Investigating Officer it is who must 
go to the physicist to ask i.f he can help him in a given case : , it is not 
for the physicist to come and offer his services to the Investigating 
Officer. The expert in physics studies, experiments, discovers, and 
publishes, it is for the Investigating Officer to read, weigh, and question. 

The Investigating Officer ought then to recall his former knowledge, 
generally at once forgotten, which has accompanied him from college into 
practical life ; he should try to complete it and keep it in touch with 
modern science by reading at least the reviews which always teach the 



reader something about the new results in various natural sciences and 
the services rendered by them. And also as it is his duty to inquire of 
everything he sees and hears, hov^ it may be utilised in his profession 
(and he can utilise all science), so he ought never in reading these 
reviews to forget to ask what advantage may be gained from what he 
has just read ; he must attempt to imagine practical cases in which he 
could call in the expert in physics to utilise the new results of the 
science. In real cases when they arise he will certainly remember his 
meditations and call in the physicist. 

Indeed we require that the physicist as well as all other experts 
should interest himself in his business ; when he has been often ques- 
tioned and knows approximately what the Investigating Officer requires 
he ought to make inquiries on his own initative and draw the attention 
of the Investigating Officer to the information which he is able to furnish 
and of which the Investigating Officer is ignorant. 

In the following pages we shall enumerate a few cases in which the 
physicist can second the Investigating Officer, confining ourselves to 
general indications and contenting ourselves with citing some examples ; 
we simply wish to demonstrate that the physicist in many cases is really 
capable of giving us information and enlightenment.* Speaking gene- 
rally, it may be stated : the physicist must always he called in when it is 
important to determine the effect of the natural forces which have 
exercised any ififiuence upon a matter within the purview of the Penal 
Code ; it goes without saying that every man is capable of determining 
this effect, but the scientist can better observe it and with more accuracy 
and justice, especially in cases requiring special knowledge, such as those 
involving calculations and the use of scientific appliances. 

Let us presume for example that the fact of an article having been 
thrown has become of some importance in a criminal case ; a stone has 
been hurled against a window^**^^ wall, or upon a roof ; the questions 
now are, to establish the spot where the person who threw it was stand- 
ing, the force with which he threw it, the size and weight of the stone, 
the direction in which it ricochetted, the time at which the event took 
place, and many other similar questions. True it is that anyone can 
draw such conclusions and make such observations, anyone, that is 
to say, who has '* two good eyes " at his disposal and who has not 
forgotten what he has at other times learned concerning '' ballistics " or 

* The authors would be very happy to receive conimunications regarding cases in which 
the Investigating Officer has been aided by experts in Natural Philosophy. 


the science of calculating the force with which things are projected ; 
but with what accuracy and correctness will not a man do this, who, all 
his life, has been occupied with the study of these questions and who 
comes armed with all the special knowledge required for such a case. 
Where an outsider sees nothing useful, the specialist perhaps observes 
all that is necessary to clear up the case. 

The same may be said of a large series of optical questions, when, e.g., 
it is desired to know how a light effect has been produced, what has been 
its action, what amount of light has been necessary for the perpetration 
of determinate acts, how a certain shadow has been produced, how far it 
has stretched, what object has caused it, at what moment of the day the 
sun has produced such and such an effect, or at what hour in the night 
the moon has shone in a particular manner, and a thousand other ques- 

In a recent case in the Cuddapah District a man who was attacked in 
the night was said to have been lying on his left side on a cot facing the 
northern and open side of a chavadi or shed, the foot of his cot being a 
few feet from its eastern wall. It was alleged the stabbing took place 
about mid-night and just as the moon was rising, the injured man stating 
in the witness box that he was lying awake and " watching the moon 
rise" when his assailants came up and attacked him, and therefore he 
recognized them. No one in Court was able positively to say whether 
at that time of the year he could possibly have seen the moon which, if 
his story was true, must have been a very northerly one. Had this 
witness's story not been completely broken down and found to be false in 
other directions it is probable that he would have been believed when he 
asserted that he saw the moon rising. It would have been impossible 
to have adjourned the case, which was a sessions one, to a date upon 
which the moon would have been in an equivalent position and it is very 
doubtful whether any physicist could have been summoned for that trial. 
But had the Investigating Officer taken the precaution of verifying 
beforehand the man's story by communicating with an expert in Natural 
Philosophy there would have been no such difficulty as was raised in this 
trial upon this point. 

Other information relating to the sun may also be of great importance ; 
whether for example the sun has been able to give a certain amount of 
heat, and at what moment of the day, and what accessory circumstances 
must be taken into account : whether the rays of the sun can have fallen 
at a particular hour of the day upon a glass of water so as to make a 



sort of burning glass : whether the heat of the sun can have changed the 
shape of certain objects, e.g., by shrivelHng them up, breaking them, 
causing them to spHt, or expand. Other questions concerning the effect 
of Hght are : how long a piece • of cloth must have been exposed to the 
heat of the sun in order to fade to a certain degree ; how long would it 
take for a piece of paper (especially the modern kinds of paper which are 
full of igneous material) to become yellow or brown with exposure to 
the sun's rays ; or how long an object must have remained in the day- 
light to have undergone a certain transformation, etc. 

As regards draughts, the wind, and storms, very important questions 
may arise ; whether e.g. during a fire, it is the wind or a draught caused 
by the heat, which has carried a piece of burning straw or a wooden tile 
(shingle) ; what direction of the wind may be deduced from such or such 
circumstances ; whether a particular object has been able to resist the 
hurricane, that is to say, in attempting to fix the time of its having been 
placed in position — was it in existence before the tempest, the time of 
which is known? Questions concerning rain and snow are at times more 
important still ; what has been produced by their agency, from what 
direction they have come, how often it has rained upon a certain article, 
etc. In this connection also we have the effects of frost, which are of 
a determinate character and may lend force to certain suppositions. 
It may be asked whether a particular object has been acted upon by 
frost, and with what force, and how often ; also what other atmospheric 
phenomena have acted upon the body in question and what has been the 
duration of the action. 

To this category also belong the following questions : — A stolen object 
has been hidden and discovered^**^^; has it been buried? and if so, wrapped 
up or not? and for how long? what was the nature of the soil? were 
there other articles with it? The manner of their preservation, especially 
when not in the air, sometimes alters them -and these alterations are 
especially noticeable in objects of delicate colour and structure, so that the 
physicist may often draw conclusions of great importance. 

There is yet another and well known branch of the physicist's 
business, — namely cases concerning the effect and properties of water. 
Has an article been in the water and if so for what length of time? 
has it been carried along by running water or sunk to the bottom? if the 
latter, what is the nature of the bottom? how far has the article been] 
carried by the river and what was the nature of the current? How lonf 
must it have taken a body of given weight, shape, and size to traverse 


given distance? When the banks are irregular and covered with vege- 
tation it may be necessary to make detailed and accurate trials and 
experiments. Other questions are, the effect of water upon banks or 
flooded places, and the length of time such places have been covered. 

Investigations concerning corpses found in the water are particularly 
important ; it is necessary e.g., to establish the successive conditions of 
the corpse in the water ; where it has gone, whence it has come, what 
obstacles and currents it has traversed, etc., all such questions are within 
the sphere not of the medical man but of the physicist (see Chap. VI, 
Sec. V, Bodily Injuries.) 

To this domain also belong inquiries regarding the effect of artificial 
heat apart from actual burns on the body, when it is desired, e.g., to 
establish the length of time an object has been exposed to a more or less 
severe heat, and the kind of heat, i.e., whether produced by a particular 
stove, as by an ordinary cooking stove, or a special furnace. 

Other examinations should also be enumerated bearing on breakages, 
tears, splits, or scratches on all sorts of articles when desirous of knowing 
their direction, as also the time and manner of their production (whether, 
e.g., naturally or artificially). This information is often of the greatest 
importance and can only be obtained where the observer is intelligent, 
knows the exact nature of the damaged article, and how to appreciate 
the value of other phenomena accompanying the deterioration, such as 
direction, force, time, etc. This is heavy work, especially in giving advice 
on a case of negligence and the damage resulting therefrom — railway 
accidents, explosions, fall of buildings, landslips, etc. In such cases, 
minute examination of secondary details {e.g. a split screw),' intricate 
calculations, and a penetrating eye are alone capable of elucidating the 

Let us finally take a passing glance at those two great motive forces 
of our times, magnetism and electricity. The least service magnetism 
renders us is the discovery of iron in cases where a chemical examination 
is not possible for some reason or other; as for electricity, we do not 
yet know all the services it can render and how far it will go, or exactly 
what results the electrician will some day be able to afford us in criminal 

Speaking generally the Investigating Officer ought not to forget that 
in many ways his work resembles that of the physicist, especially when 
he has to draw conclusions from the effects he finds upon articles. In 
dealing with such effects he must determine the forces producing them, 


just as the phj^sicist explains the phenomena of nature. If then the 
Investigating Officer questions a physicist in a general way the latter, 
finding himself in his own domain, will perhaps not confine himself to 
the questions asked, but in his turn will raise further questions which 
the Investigating Officer has overlooked. 

In forgeries also (as to ink, paper, writing materials, files of docu- 
ments, etc.) the physicist can afford the chemist and the microscopist 
important help obtainable in no other direction. 

Section vi. — Experts in Mineralogy, Zoology, and Botany. 

Experts in Mineralogy ^"^^ and Zoology are but little consulted by the 
Investigating Officer ; the former is only utilized for the examination of 
minerals and to establish their particular properties, or he aids the micro- 
scopist when, e.g., it is necessary to determine the nature of a mineral 
so as to deduce therefrom the origin of dust, dirt, or stains, etc. — and 
indeed these are often important points for elucidation. The role of the 
zoologist is scarcely more extended : he can determine the nature and 
origin of animal wool ; assist in forming a judgment upon blood globules ; 
determine the functions of certain animals ; tell us what they are capable 
of doing and producing ; give us information concerning poisons pro- 
ceeding from animals ; aid the medical man in many histological, 
anatomical, and physiological cases, and thus complement the latter's 

We must repeat that nowhere is there greater danger than when we .j 
neglect to call in the expert and ourselves dabble in the matter. No 
doubt the layman who observes closely will discover something and form 
correct conclusions, but the true working insight is only to be obtained 
and judged by the expert. The zoologist finds important employment 
when the question arises of how long a man lying in the open has been 
dead, under what conditions animal life of various sorts (especially 
insects) appear at different times upon every corpse. If the death does 
not take place in the cold part of the year, certain flies at once appear, 
somewhat later certain beetles, etc., are found, until at last, sometimes 
after many months, certain animals bring about the final work of des- 
truction of the non-osseous parts. In such circumstances zoologists can_ 
often afford important and reliable information ^**o— *85) 

Finally some known attributes of animals are of importance. It ij 
only necessary to consider this and consult a zoologist. So once in 


certain case it was desired to know how many hours a drunken man 
had lain in water. At first it was said that he could only have been 
there one or .two hours, because in his clothes live fleas were still 
found ^*^''\ On account of the importance of the case inquiries were 
made, and it was discovered that fleas can live as long as 16 hours under 
water. Flies, spiders, caterpillers, etc., die much more quickly under 

It is for the botanist to play the greatest role ; he can indicate poisonous 
or abortive plants, discovering the smallest pieces ; he can determine the 
nature of powdered substances composed of plants, seeds, and fruits ; he 
can study the juices of these plants and the preparations made therefrom. 
These indications are often important, especially when such vegetable 
matter is discovered in a house search or upon the person, or in the 
stomach and intestines of deceased persons, or in the matter vomited or 
passed by them. It must not be forgotten that the smallest atom of leaf , 
the most minute piece of bark or fibre, suflices for the botanist to recog- 
nise the entire plant. 

It is often of equally great interest to know how to determine the 
nature and origin of a piece of wood with the assistance of a small piece 
which has been found; when, e.g., it is desired to indicate whether a 
splinter of wood comes from a weapon, instrument, utensil, post, or 
living tree, etc. ; or when the nature of the piece of wood may tell us 
the locality where a certain person or object is to be found, the place 
whence it has come, and the objects with which it has been in contact. 
The botanist is also sometimes able to tell the age of an injury to a 
living plant, its aspect before healing up, the way in which it has been 
made, and the instrument employed ; he may be able to tell us the 
force which must have been used to produce on a piece of dead wood 
such and such a mutilation or change, the time when a leaf or a fruit 
must have been damaged {e.g., by a shot from a firearm), the place 
of origin of certain pieces of plant, etc ; the shape of an instrument 
which has produced such and such a cut or mark on a piece of wood 
(discovery of the traces of a clean cut by a knife demonstrating the 
absence of a toothed saw). 

The intervention of the botanist may be of special importance in 
■ obtaining information regarding certain textile fibres; e.g., in determin- 
ing the nature of the fibre (flax, hemp, jute, cotton) ; in identifying 
threads and parts of threads (twine, ordinary thread, kc); in studying the 
effect of certain Hquids (paints, acids, or alkalis, etc.) upon vegetable 



fibres (change in shape, length, colour, and aspect) ; in determining the 
age of textile fibres and the place where they have remained (includ- 
ing such questions as the age of a cord, whether a piece of string has 
been for a long time in the water, whether a piece of linen cloth has been 
exposed to great heat, or whether some cotton stuff has been buried.) 

A whole series of questions are connected with the chemical and 
physical properties of vegetable matter ; in these cases the botanist should 
work with the microscopist, the chemist, and the physicist. Such ques- 
tions are the absorption of gas, odour, and, fumes, by vegetable fibres ; 
the explosive properties of flax, hemp, and jute dust ; the spontaneous 
combustion of vegetable fibres impregnated with oil (tow, flax, thread, 
engineer's waste, etc.) ; the hidden combustion of ignited fibres (saltpetre 
treatment) ; the duration and certainty of the combustion of materials 
composing wicks (arson, explosions) ; the dangerous combustible pro- 
perties of celluloid ; the spontaneous combustion of damp hay, newly 
carbonized paper, or vegetable carbon ; the proof of the existence of the 
juice of plants upon metals, {e.g., on a knife which has been used to cut 
fresh plants or fruit), or upon garments {e.g., stains made by grass upon 
coats, and the age and the origin of such stains). It is permissible to 
assert that the botanist may come to our assistance in the most difficult, 
important, and interesting cases.* 

Section vii.— The Expert in Firearms. 

As indicated above the examination of firearms requires, more than 
anything else, the assistance of a whole series of different experts ; as a 
rule only a gunsmith is called in, but this the author considers a mistake. 
Now-a-days local gunsmiths no longer exist as in former times, they are 
as rare as the local clock-makers of old ; for both the local gunsmith and 
clock-maker sell instruments they have received ready-made from the 
factory ; at the most they have only placed the various parts of the instru- 
ment together and know how to do certain repairs. The firearm and 
the watch are made only in the factory and the merchant or shop-keeper 
cannot be expected to understand in a special manner their interior 

Even when dealing with a gunsmith who knows his trade we find 
his knowledge restricted in most cases to being able to indicate the orig 

* Upon the frequently recurring mistakes concerning poisoning through mineral 
see Chapter XVI. Sec. vi. Poisoning. 


and the price of the weapon, the names of its different parts and other 
mechanical details, which, it must be confessed, will have in most cases 
a certain value. But he will not be able to say much regarding the use 
to which the instrument may be put, the effects which it is capable 
of producing, the connection existing between the arm itself and the 
bullet employed, besides numerous other questions of capital importance. 
Recourse must therefore be had to the experienced sportsman, the medical 
man, the inspector of musketry, the physicist, the chemist, and the 
microscopist ; in many other cases moreover, where the question is to 
determine the effect of a bullet on different substances, yet other experts 
who are conversant with these substances must be questioned ; in many 
cases experts consulted by the author have been unable to give a satis- 
factory reply, when an ordinary workman has answered without hesitation. 
The dresser of stone can tell us the resistance of the various kinds of 
stone, the locksmith can explain to us how a certain effect has been 
produced upon iron, and the botanist can indicate with accuracy the time 
and the season at which a bullet has struck a living tree and lodged in 
the wood. 

As regards the practical method of procedure in examining experts 
care must be taken not to allow different experts to make their 
experiments at the same time and give their advice together. The 
Investigating Officer who is directing the inquiry easily loses a concise 
view of the case when one expert draws conclusions from one side and 
another from the other side ; it is difficult to understand the work of each 
and it is impossible to reconcile the different statements and the con- 
clusions given upon the whole. He must therefore, before all, obtain a 
clear idea of how the various experts are best to be consulted, and arrange 
to question after the others, those experts who with their experiments 
destroy in part the documents and material objects at his disposal. 

Once the experiments are made and the reports sent in, the Investi- 
gating Officer will be able, following the case and the results of the 
reports, to bring the experts together either all at once or in several 
categories ; in this way he will perhaps find the agreement or the 
explanation of doubtful questions or questions resolved in different ways; 
when the experts are already au courant with the matter and know what 
they have to reply they will agree together much more readily than if 
they have been allowed to work together from the outset. This method 
of procedure has yet another advantage ; important corpora delicti, 
serving as objects of conviction, are less exposed to being lost or injured 


when they are sent to but one or two experts at a time, instead of in the 
space of a quarter of an hour being passed through a great number of 

Besides examination regarding the origin of a firearm, the effects 
produced thereby, tlie mode of its employment, and its connection with 
such and such bullets, etc., questions relating to the science of arms 
properly so called, and besides those questions which it is within the 
province of the medical jurisprudent to decide, there are yet other 
examinations of decisive effect which are within the competence of the 
chemist. Suppose for example it is desired to establish whether a bullet 
has been taken from a stock of bullets found upon a suspected individual, 
it will certainly not suffice to establish that it is of the same size, the 
same shape, the same calibre and the same weight as the others ; it is 
also necessary to prove that their chemical composition is identical ^**''^ 
Pure lead is but rarely employed for the making of bullets, tin, zinc, 
antimony, bismuth, and arsenic being mixed therewith, even traces of 
silver may be found ; if then the quantitative analysis of the chemist 
shows that the alloy is the same in both cases, this will be a decisive 
proof of identity. This examination may also be of great interest in 
many other cases. If, for example, we have the firearm of the suspected 
individual and a bullet, and if the weapon be coated with fresh lead 
inside, it is for the chemist to withdraw this lead from the barrel and 
analyse it as he has analysed the bullet ; if then the analysis of the bullet 
corresponds with that of the lead in the firearm, it may reasonally be 
presumed that that particular bullet has been fired from that particular 
firearm, especially if the composition of the lead is uncommon or con- 
tains an abnormal proportion of some other element. Even when it is 
impossible to make these two analyses and compare the results, as for 
instance when we possess only the bullet, it is well to submit the latter 
to chemical examination ; this may furnish the proof of a composition 
but little used, which, in default of other clues may perhaps afford some 
indication regarding the author of the crime. If the bullet has not been 
manufactured by the man himself but has been made in some factory, its 
chemical composition may very well lead to the discovery of its place of 
manufacture, for in this industry the same alloy is not everywhere 
employed. Finally, in certain circumstances, there may be traces 
powder upon the bullet, which, chemically analysed, are capable of givinj 
an indication regarding the explosive which has been used. Such trace! 
sometimes remam upon a bullet even when it is lodged in the human 


body ; they were clearly distinguishable upon the French bullet which 
the author's grandfather carried behind his eye for 46 years (from 1799 
to 1845) and which was only extracted after his death. 

Chemical analysis may be of the greatest importance when it is 
desired to know when or how long before a certain firearm has been fired. 
The Investigating Officer does not naturally have to deal with the 
manner in which such an examination must be made, an examination 
which however is very curious in that it can only indicate whether the 
weapon has been fired off a very short time before. The mofussil Investi- 
gating Officer would therefore be very much behind time if he thought 
of sending the firearm to the capital for this analysis. Sonnenschein <£■ 
Classen^^^^ in their Handbook of Legal Chemistry indicate the following 
process; it is so simple that it may be employed if necessary even in the 
country by any doctor or hospital assistant and frequently brings to light 
decisive results. It is true that this process can only be employed if the 
explosive has consisted of the ordinary powder which still remains 
in common use. The firearm in question must be withdrawn as soon 
as possible from the action of the air ; for this purpose the barrel is 
hermetically corked and the breach wrapped up in cloth. The examination 
must be carried out as soon as possible. First the discharged barrel is 
rinsed with distilled water and the solution obtained filtered and examined 
for sulphuric acid (with barium chloride), alkaline sulphides (with salts 
of lead) , and salts of iron (with f erocyanide of potassium) . Let us pre- 
sume that the barrel is dark brown, contains neither rust nor green 
crystals of ferrous sulphate, and that the solution is light yellow in 
colour, smells of sulphuretted hydrogen, and with salts of lead gives 
a black precipitate. It follows that the fire-arm must have been fired 
within 2 hours. If the colour is clearer still and there is neither rust 
nor crystals, but traces of sulphuric acid are discovered, more than 
2 hours but less than 24 hours must have passed since the moment 
the weapon was fired. If the barrel has numerous stains of oxide of iron 
and the reagent proves the existence of iron in the water, the weapon 
has been fired at least 24 hours before and at most within 5 days. 
If the oxide of iron is in large quantity but no iron salts are found in the 
solution, at least 10 days and at most 50 days have elapsed. 

If the firearm after having been fired has been immediately reloaded 
without having been cleaned, the cylindrical portion of the pull-through 
or the cleaning rod, has a dark grey colour during the first four days and 
during the following days it is yellowish grey and the water contains 



distinct traces of sulphuric acid. If the weapon has been cleaned before 
being loaded the second time, the colour is light red or yellow ochre 
during the first two days, during the following days becomes dark red, 
and after 12 to 15 days becomes and remains grey ; the powder will have 
a light red colour owing to the oxide of iron attaching thereto and the 
reagent will show no signs of sulphuric acid. If the firearm has been 
reloaded immediately after firing the colour will be green but will quickly 
attain that described above. If the barrel be rinsed with lime-water, 
red colouring will also be noticed. Finally, if the wad is of paper contain- 
ing alum or plaster, and the reagent shows the presence of sulphuric 
acid in the water with which the wad is washed, it proves nothing. 

In all cases we also recommed the examination of the bullet with a 
magnifying glass ; information is then obtained about the number, pitch, 
shape, and depth of the rifling, the substance and structure of the wad 
which has left traces upon the lead, upon the manner in which a muzzle 
loader has been loaded, and upon many other points of importance. 

Section viii. — Handwriting. 

As to the value to be placed upon the appreciation of manuscripts 
the most divergent opinions exist ; some have made a science of it and 
yet do not know how to sufficiently appreciate the results of their 
examination, while others consider the knowledge so many persons 
pretend to possess as the mere product of the imagination or at least oi 
gross exaggeration. 

No lawyer is obliged to form a decision on one side or the other, but 
he must take up a position on the subject and form an opinion upon it 
whether he believes in the study of graphology or not ; before however 
a lawyer decides this finally we should advise him to give the matter 
some consideration. No sooner do we in a matter of human knowledge 
establish a certainty and assign limits to it, no matter how wide those 
limits may be, than we find that knowledge cannot be thus limited ; in 
other words, all knowledge is capable of development — how far we 
do not know. None will deny that it is worth while for all educated 
persons to form some opinion on graphology. At least everyone will^ 
allow that the writing of an uneducated peasant looks different to th( 
writing of an educated lady, that the child does not write like the ol( 
man, that the writing of a farmhand will not be mistaken for that 
a learned man. However, as soon as one has gone so far, one hal 


confessed that there is such a thing as graphology, in fact one has 
acknowledged the principles of it to be correct. If one goes further — 
speaks of a copied, pedantic, interesting, fickle, nervous, or energetic 
handwriting and recognises the writing of the aristocratic lady, the 
soldier, the merchant, the scholar, one has gone a long way in the 
rudiments of graphology, and would act inconsequently, as is done by 
people prejudiced against graphology, by declaring that the things esta- 
blished were not capable of a wider and more scientific development. 
If data in greater number were collected, if more cautious and more 
accurate experiments were made, then it would be possible to individual- 
ize, generalize, and establish rules, thus leading to the increase of 
knowledge, a knowledge which must inevitably go very far. That 
graphology w^hen more exactly and scientifically studied can be brought 
to a more workable knowledge, no one can well doubt. That there is a line 
in some subjects beyond which we cannot go, is easy to see. Would any 
one for example maintain that chiromancy, the study of the connection 
between the lines of the hand and the fate of the criminal, should be 
advanced to a science ? No earnest man would maintain that, for the 
little we know of it, chiromancy is anything but doubtful, and where 
there is absolutely no truth there can be no development. But as regards 
graphology there are acknowledged facts, and it is therefore permissible 
to think that it is capable of development. 

As early as the 17th century a work on the subject appeared, namely 
the '' Ideographia Prosperi Aldorissi", by Camillo Boldo ; at the begin- 
ning of the 18th century an anonymous book was published in Paris 
styled ''The Art of Judging the Character of Men by their Handwriting." 
Goethe and Lavater were interested in the subject, and Hentze, who for 
a considerable time published appreciations of manuscripts in the 
"Leipzic Illustrated Journal", also wrote a volume called "Die Chiro- 
grammatomantie " ^*^^^ ; other well known experts have also written on 
the subject, as for example Micho7is^*^\ Erlenmyeyer ^*^^\ etc. ; Dr. Scholz 
pubHshed in 1881 " Writing and its distinctive characteristics. " Zim- 
mali, Meiidius, Machmer and many others (*62-478) have also written 
treatises from which the Investigating Officer can learn many things 
which will help him in his profession. The latest and perhaps the best 
work on the subject is "Ames on Forge^'y, its Detection and Illustration,'' 
pubhshed at Boston, Mass., U.S.A. in 1901. 

We may say at once that there are few people so well fitted to be 
handwriting experts as Investigating Officers themselves. A77ies in the 


work just cited states " the expert is the man 2vho knows," and he then 
proceeds to briefly consider the Hnes of study and experience calculated 
to confer the highest order of skill upon a handwriting expert. 

First. The study and practice of handwriting as a teacher, in the 
constant observation, criticism, and suggestion to learners afforded by 
such an occupation. 

Second. The preparation of publications devoted to writing and other 
phases of penmanship, involving the careful preparation of models for the 
engraver and the critical scrutiny of plate reproductions of such models. 

Third. The preparation of critical and technical, literary and scientific 
instructions for the student of penmanship. 

Fourth. The accumulated experience arising from previous exami- 
nations of disputed writing and the multiplied precedents of Court 
opinions, rulings, and the verdicts of juries, in cases on w^hich the expert 
has been previously employed. 

Fifth. The occupation of an engraver or lithographer where the 
frequent reproduction of handwriting, and especially autographs, is invol- 
ved. The careful drawing of his models upon the plates prior to engraving 
and the critical comparison between models and reproductions lead t( 
nice distinctions and the detection of delicate personal or individual 

Sixth. The constant professional observation of handw^riting in anj 
line of financial or commercial business tends to confer skill. It shouh 
be said here, however, that the average bank cashier or teller bases his 
opinions and his identifications generally upon the pictorial effect, without 
recourse to those minuter and more delicate points upon which the skilled 
expert rightly places the greatest reliance. Such testimony cannot be 
compared for accuracy or value with that of the scientific investigator of 
handwriting. It follows, then, that one who is endowed with more than 
ordinary acuteness of observation, and has had an experience so varied and 
extensive as to cover most of these lines, is likely to be best fitted for 
critical and reliable expert work. 

It will be seen that an Investigating Officer of experience and intelli- 
gence, (and we are entitled to presume that a person in the position of an 
Investigating Officer is a man of experience and intelligence) , must at 
least have followed the fourth line of preparation laid down by Ames. 
A study of the books abovementioned will as we have said be of great 
service to the Investigating Officer, but more important still are obser- 
vation and personal study, followed with zeal and regularity, which 


will convince Investigating Officers that examination of handwriting has 
now-a-days become a science. The examination of manuscripts is of 
valae to the Investigating Officer in two ways ; it enables him in the 
first place to know his men and next renders it possible for him to solve 
the preliminary question, namely, " are the presumptions sufficient to 
assume that two writings are identical and to warrant the employment 
of an expert on the subject'?" An Investigating Officer is in a better 
position than any one else to obtain the knowledge necessary for this, 
not only has he to examine many writings, but he nearly always comes 
to know the author of them. He can therefore verify the conclusions he 
has arrived at on examining writing by personal dealings with the writer. 
Every criminal record offers, from this point of view, ample material ; 
in the notes and signatures of the Investigating Officer's colleagues and 
clerks, and the signatures and writings of witnesses and accused persons, 
and often also, in letters and other documents forming part of the papers 
in a case, sufficient material is to be found ; all that is necessary is for the 
Investigating Officer to take an interest in the subject — and it must be 
presumed that every zealous Investigating Officer does so. The course 
to be followed is not difficult to point out. The writing must be studied 
and an attempt made to read all that can be read in it ; the results 
obtained must then be compared with all the information obtainable 
from other sources as regards trie individual in question, and, finally, 
one must try to find out, when things are not clear, how and where 
a mistaken judgment has been formed. All this indeed is easy to say, 
but the work itself requires much time and trouble, though these are 
largely compensated by the interesting results obtained. As regards the 
first part of the work it is necessary to proceed in the most methodical 
way. In the first place it is necessary to become familiar with old forms 
of letters generally used by old people who have learnt them many years 
before ; but in doing so it must not be forgotten that the employment of 
such forms is no absolute proof that the writer is an old person any 
more than the employment of more modern letters proves the writer to 
be a young person. Certain persons who have had an old writing- 
master and whose character is not very independent often employ for 
long afterwards, or even throughout their whole lives, the letters they 
have first learned. There are also people who have taken to the habit of 
using antiquated letters out of sympathy for the archaic or for an old 
person. In the same way there are old people who have preserved their 
youthful character and who like to do everything as young people do ; 



they follow the fashions of the day ; they reject the old letters as they 
would an old-fashioned garment and adopt new forms of letters as soon 
as they come in. But this is exceptional, and as a general rule people do 
not change the writing to which they have become accustomed — espe- 
cially when well advanced in life. Ames cites two cases of character reading 
from handwriting which show what store he lays by fashion in writing. 
He states as follows : — Not long since the writer was present with a 
party of ladies and gentlemen where the reading of character from hand- 
writing was the subject under discussion, when one of the ladies took 
from her pocket two letters, and handing them to him, asked an expres- 
sion of his opinion respecting their authors. Inspecting one of them, he 
said, " The writer was upward of sixty years of age, a careful, methodi- 
cal, experienced business man, and probably the head of some corporation 
or large business. " Inspecting the writing of the other letter he said, 
"The writer of this is between thirty and forty years of age, a keen, 
active man of affairs, probably the secretary or chief clerk of a corpora- 
tion or a large business house. " The lady who had solicited the opinion 
at once clapped her hands, exclaiming that nothing could be more 
truthful, adding that the one was president of a savings and loan 
company and the other was secretary of a corporation. *' Now " , she 
said, " I would just like to have you explain to me how you could tell 
that." The reply was, taking the first one: "Here is a strong, clear, 
legible, and practised hand, very methodical, without blot, change, or 
erasure from beginning to end, and is written in a round-shaped hand, 
which must have been learned more than forty-five years ago, as that 
school of writing has not been taught in this country within that period. 
This, with the dignified, deliberate appearance of the writing fixes his 
age at over sixty years, while the practised style of writing indicates 
a large experience in the business world. The good judgment, taste, 
and accuracy manifested in the writing show corresponding traits in 
business ; while the concise, clear, and intelligent statement of the 
subject-matter is indicative of an able, lucid, and comprehensive grasp of 
business affairs. " 

As to the other letter he said : " This is an elegant Spenserian 
hand, which must have been learned at a much more recent date, and 
hence by a younger man. It is written with great facility, indicating 
young and trained muscles in immediate practice, and the composition 
and subject-matter is such as to indicate a mind trained and familiar 
with the business w^orld. Here, therefore, is a man not above medium 


life and possessed of the requisite qualifications for the active duties of 
the secretary or chief clerk of some large business enterprise." 

Having determined this outside question the next thing to be done 
is to see whether the writing examined is by one who writes little or 
much. This presents no difficulty and though it may not be easy to 
express in words what is meant by a '* running " hand everyone knows 
liow to distinguish an awkward, heavy, and embarassed script from a 
free, practised, and flowing one. This is exceptionally easy in the Ver- 
nacular languages of India, where penmanship is a profession and the 
cursive script of the ready writer is so totally distinct from the laboured 
handwriting of the man who is accustomed to do httle more than sign 
his name or address a post card. But the result of this is of great 
importance, for hereby whole groups of persons may be eliminated and 
it may be once for all decided that the writing in question is not that of 
a person belonging to such and such a group. 

A more difficult question is to discover the sex of the writer ; yet. 
even when one is not accustomed to examining writing one may in the 
majority of cases make this distinction without mistake. A little ex- 
perience and practise will soon make it almost impossible to commit an 
error ; and herein lies the ground work of much success, for when one 
has obtained a certain sureness one will be also able to discover feminine 
traits in the handwriting of a man and masculine traits in that of a 
woman which will always materially contribute towards the characteri- 
sation of an individual ^*''^\ 

The next problem concerns mainly the exterior form of the writing 
and consists in classifying the writing of men according to their profes- 
sions : thus it is easy to recognise the rapid, light, uniform, and legible 
writing of the tradesman. The writing of learned men usually presents 
this peculiarity that although often very illegible the characters bear a 
certain resemblance to print: the reason probably being that owing to 
his continual reading the writing of a savant begins to bear a certain 
likeness to print. The writing of soldiers is more like that of trades- 
people but it is clearer and more energetic, — more sure of itself. The 
•writing of civil servants and other officials can as a rule only be des- 
cribed as "filthy." The school-master, who finds himself obliged to set 
beautiful copies to his scholars, is incapable of permitting himself the 
luxury of a writing of his own ; even in everyday life he still writes 
copies. Finally medical men who are always busy write their letters 
very much like their prescriptions. 



Nationality moreover is brought out in handwriting ; a Frenchman 
or an American writes like no other person, and when one studies their 
handwriting carefully one comes to the conclusion that a man with the 
national character of a real Frenchman or a real Yankee could not 
possibly write otherwise than he actually does write. 

Of course there are exceptions but one is tempted to agree w4th 
Dr. Frederic Schoh who says '' When a professor writes like a copyist 
and a merchant like an artist they have missed their vocation " ; no 
doubt here also secondary influences must be considered : the imitation 
of the writing of a revered person, e.g., one's father, or in India one's 
school teacher, the imitation of some strange hand or other which one 
has found convenient, pretty, or original ; heredity also plays its role in 
this matter as well as certain physical conditions of the body ; short- 
sighted people write as a rule very minutely. But all the secondary in- 
fluences act either only upon the purely exterior phenomena (size of 
writing, distance between the lines, etc.,) or else they indicate certain 
qualities of character (spirit of imitation, want of personality, etc.) 

To know how to distinguish these peculiarities of character is the 
most difficult as it is the most important operation in examining hand- 
writing : — ** We write not only with the hand, but also with the brain," 
says Scholz, and in this he is right. Another experienced graphologist 
states. — *' Writing is not a mere chimerical art, but is an outburst of the 
heart, an exponent of life and character, more reliable than the delinea- 
tions of the countenance to the physiognomist." The most difficult thing 
to do is to compare, not the writings of persons of different character, 
but those of the same person in different moods. With much reason the 
various signatures of Napoleon are usually cited in this connection ; few^ 
men have experienced so strongly as he the whole gamut of impres- 
sions ; few men have seen so many events as he : 1804, 3rd December 
1805, 1806, 21st September 1812, 6th October 1812, 13th October 1813, 
abdication, 4th April 1814, St. Helena. What changes of destiny, what 
changes in disposition, what changes in writing. The study of these 
eight signatures is more instructive than " a whole shelf full of books." 
It seems quite impossible to confound the dates of the various signatui'es 
and mistake those of the zenith of the fortunes of Bonaparte for that 
made by him at St. Helena. 

We need not deal with peculiarities of handwriting which are th^ 
outcome of an illness ; such cases are for the medical man. It is the 
duty of an Investigating Officer to question a doctor whenever he finds 



extraordinary phenomena in the handwriting of an accused^*^'. Such 
phenomena are for example letters and words in the wrong place, inabi- 
lity to transcribe words and writing without making mistakes, peculiar 
and disused forms of letters, letters and words which can easily be 
confused, in short, anything unusual and unnatural. There is no doubt 
that many brain diseases {e.g., paralysis) are discoverable in writing long 
before any trace of the infirmity is otherwise noticeable. It is important 
for the lawyer to remember that stutterers, when they are idiots, write 
as they speak. In the first place they frequently make needless and 
incomprehensible scratchings in the middle of the writing and in the 
second place they leave out letters, e.g., for "the frog is green" they write 
"the fog is geen."^*^^^ In anonymous, threatening, insulting, and stupid 
letters and writings received from idiots such lapses alone frequently 
betray them. There are also certain exterior phenomena, not so difficult 
to determine, the influence of which upon writing is very important for 
Investigating Officers ^"^\ They may be easily discovered if one has at 
one's disposal for purposes of comparison one or several specimens of the 
writing of a man when these influences have not been acting, but they 
may also be determined when one has no such independent writing 
with which to compare the matter under examination : that a writing 
has been dictated may be established by the presence of certain faults 
which could only exist through words having been badly heard, or 
because the writing and spelling show a degree of culture inferior to that 
of the wording of the document, and above all, because it is evident 
that the writing has been done without thinking. What this means can 
hardly be expressed in words but it may be understood by examining 
a writing which one is certain has taken much trouble to execute. It 
will be noticed that there is a particular connection between the writing 
and the work of the mind which is always missing in a writing which has 
been dictated. 

The same may be said of a copy, which, as a rule, is more carefully 
done than a writing done straight away ; corrections are few and the 
writing has a certain appearance of completion. The same is also note- 
worthy in forgeries, which have the character of copies owing to the way 
in which the pen is dipped in the ink. Let us first consider a piece of 
dictation or a rough draft having no erasures and written right off with no 
considerable pauses for reflection. When writing with the same pen and 
the same ink, etc., each time a dip is taken the same quantity of ink is 
taken on the pen and about the same number of words written ; when the 



ink on the pen is nearly done the letters become paler and are clearly 
distinguishable from the other and blacker letters. But nervous and 
excitable persons do not wait till there is no more ink on the pen : they 
take more ink long before they need, thus betraying by the total absence 
of pale places their state of nervous excitability. The paler parts may 
be easily discovered with a magnifying glass and once found we know 
when the writer has dipped his pen in the ink. These places should 
then be marked and the letters written with each dip counted. If the 
number of letters between the dips is almost identical the writing may 
be presumed to have been written at once or from dictation ; the writer 
has dipped his pen in the ink at the moment when there was no more 
ink on it to go on with. But if a noticeable difference be found between 
the number of letters in each group, the counting must be continued ; 
let us suppose that the number of letters in several groups is the same 
and that all at once the number becomes very much greater, the con- 
clusion to be drawn is that the writing has been interrupted as e.g., for 
reflection. He has stopped writing when there was still ink on his pen, 
he has then reflected, or taken a pull at his pipe or his peg, re-dipped his 
pen in the ink and started writing again, so that there are no pale letters 
at that particular place and the distance between the two pale places is 
therefore considerable. Of course a person dictating may also make 
pauses but the dictated matter has other characteristic signs which pre- 
vent any confusion. These remarks do not of course apply to those who 
use fountain pens. 

It is quite otherwise with a copy ; the copyist dips his pen not only 
when he needs ink, but also frequently does so on reading over and as- 
similating portions of the matter he is copying. If a person be observed 
while copying it will be noticed that he takes more ink whenever hr 
begins a new paragraph though he does not really require it. The 
consequence is that pale places are either entirely wanting in a copy or 
come at every irregular intervals. As regards very exact copies as, e.g., 
in imitating a writing, the personal experience of the author is that pale 
places do not exist at all. The forger makes each stroke slowly, one 
after the other (or else but one or two at a time) looking at the model 
continually as he does so ; he therefore takes advantage of these natural 
pauses to dip his pen in the ink with the result that pale letters do not 
exist at all. 

Another phenomenon, the effect of which is also not difficult to re 
cognise, consists in haste or marked carefulness. Haste in writing 


characterised by large irregular letters with the angles round rather than 
sharp, the writing quickly loses its primary direction ; straight writing 
becomes sloping and sloping writing straight. The distance between the 
lines is irregular ; the final strokes of the words, especially at the end of 
a paragraph, are elongated, and the position of the writing on the page 
is not observed, as may be seen from the margins at the top, bottom, 
and sides of the paper. 

Converse phenomena may be observed in writing where special care 
has been exercised. The first thing to notice is that a new pen has 
been taken on beginning to write, the letters written therewith being 
unmistakably sharp and fine ; the writing is much smaller, the angles 
of the letters more pronounced, the full stops are round, {i.e., do not tail 
towards the right) , the paragraphs are well separated from one another ; 
in short the exterior form of the w^riting has been carefully attended to. 

A person who is forging a document finds it necessary to take special 
care over each detail and the more he attempts to hide this care the more 
is it betrayed : his desire is to make believe that he is writing with a run- 
ning hand when in fact he is taking the greatest trouble in the world. 
An individual who is capable of falsifying a writing so that it really has 
the appearance of a running hand knows his business au fond and is a 
past master in the art of forgery. But every imperfection in his writing 
will at once reveal a contradiction although at first it may be difficult 
to say in what it consists. Only after further consideration will it be 
possible to say "The writing is by a running hand — and yet it is not so" ; 
once this result is attained the answer to the puzzle is clear ; — the writing 
is made to pass for a running hand but ha,s not in fact been written with 
a running hand. It is much the same with a transcript ; it is generally 
carefully done and there are few corrections but the whole has a certain 
stiff appearance. 

As important and moreover not difficult to recognise is when a 
person has written under conditions different from those to which he 
is accustomed. We all write quite differently when sitting at home 
at our own desk and using our own writing materials, undergoing no 
strange influence, than we do when with a wretched office pen we 
have to sign our name, on our feet, bending over unaccustomed paper. 
To find out such derangement in accustomed habits it is unnecessary 
to proceed to comparison ; one has only to note the form of the letters 
to become convinced that the writer is accustomed to use the pen but 
at the same time that the whole writing shows a certain awkwardness. 


It is of course true that if a person is not a practised writer it will be very 
difficult to say whether or not he has written in normal conditions. 
This is very common in India in the case of signatories and witnesses, 
who frequently can write only their names and a few common words. 

The most important thing an Investigating Officer can extract from 
a writing is, in every case, the character of an individual. To be able to 
do so is partly a matter of natural disposition and partly a matter of 
experience. In the following pages the author will point out how this 
experience may be acquired and will consider, in a general way, tlie 
value attaching to handwriting and how^ it ought to be appreciated. 
Persons who are convinced that the examination of handwriting is able 
to give information on a number of matters and who seriously desire 
to undertake the study of this science will be well advised to proceed 
methodically ; as to those who only wish to study the subject superfi- 
cially they will pass by on one side all that is of real fascination in 
the pursuit. In proceeding methodically the learner must first make a 
collection of manuscripts of persons whose character, age, occupation, 
etc., are well known to him. These manuscripts should be taken one 
by one and read ad hoc, i.e., with the intention of finding some definite 
peculiarity, e.g., in an old man's writing everything which may be con- 
sidered as the result of age, such as antiquated expressions, trembling 
script, awkwardness, archaic forms of letters, etc. All such indications, 
will be noted and similar peculiarities searched for, first in manuscripts 
written by persons of the same age and afterwards in all the others at 
one's disposal. If, in the latter, phenomena are also met with which one 
has so far believed to be signs of advanced years, one will try to find out 
the reason for their existence in the writing of the younger persons, and 
will leave on one side all the characteristics not specially belonging 
to the writing of old persons. If, later, one comes into possession of 
another of these latter mentioned writings it will be verified with respect 
to these characteristics and the new data obtained will be added to the 
list already commenced. T'his register will undergo many alterations ; 
new distinctive signs will often be discovered, but on the other hand 
peculiarities also found in the handwriting of young persons will conti- 
nue to crop up and must be struck out of the list. The same procedure 
will be followed in making lists from every imaginable point of view : — 
from the point of view of age, sex, size, nationality, position, profes- 
sion, occupation, intellectual condition, natural disposition, benevolence 
or penuriousness, boldness or timidity, morality, inclinations, qualities, 


character, physical and mental organisation, situation in life and often the 
intention of a writer, in sum all those qualities which go to make up 
human nature. And this work will be double : in the first place the 
point of departure will be the writer, and the writing must be searched 
for signs of some special tendencies really forming part of the charac- 
ter of an individual : we know for instance that he is a weak man 
and we look for indications of a weak character in the writing. When 
we believe w^e have discovered such signs they must be noted and accu- 
rately verified as was done when drawing up the list of distinctive 
signs of old age. In the second place our point of departure will be the 
writing itself, and in it we will try to discover everything that can be 
discovered and verify it until the results arrived at coincide with those we 
have obtained from our study of the individual. When this work has 
been practised for some time the result obtained may be that the inform- 
ation concerning the individual will not correspond with the indications 
drawn from the writing ; but at the same time it will be found that it is 
not the latter indications but the former that are inaccurate. Writing 
never lies, and it will prove our former opinion to have been fallacious. 

After having examined in this way all the manuscripts at one's dis- 
posal it is necessary to group them; we should compare them, keeping in 
view the questions of age, sex, special peculiarities, and finally the kind 
of manuscript (hurried notes, careful work, etc). As soon as a grouping 
from a particular point of view has been made, the writings should be 
attentively examined for such common characters as may be easily re- 
membered ; it is in the highest degree suggestive and interesting to 
make and study such groups and manuscripts : when one has begun to 
become interested in this kind of work one soon gives one's self up to it 
with a passion which grows all the more as little by Httle one discovers 
the enormous profit to be obtained therefrom ; this profit increases in 
proportion to the skill of the operator and the pleasure the latter finds 
in his occupation increases in like proportion. 

Criminalists have at their disposal material of high value only acces- 
sible to themselves, such as the signatures of persons who have been 
judicially examined along with their general description and depositions. 
When carrying on this study of manuscripts a document such as a 
deposition should never be handled without an attempt to gain some 
profit by that study. First look at the signature and read all that can 
be read in it, then, relying on the facts set out in the deposition itself, 
the accuracy of the opinion formed therefrom may be verified ; with a 



little practice this does not take long and the minutes lost are largely 
compensated for by what is otherwise gained ; one soon begins to do this 
out of habit and does not neglect it even when in a hurry. A glance 
taken at the end of the deposition and we immediately conclude : — 
" Artisan, 40 or 50 years old, open-hearted, trustworthy, honest, small 
in stature, careless, " : then the description, profession, age, etc., is 
looked at and our opinion found to be accurate. Then the tenor of 
the document is examined and our opinion again borne out. More time 
is required when the opinions formed do not agree with the facts found, 
for then the fault must be sought for; but soon one seldom or never 
makes a mistake. This study takes up but little time, presents a 
variety of surprises, and becomes as interesting as it is useful. The 
author advises everyone to study handwriting in this way. 

Another almost mechanical method of seizing peculiarities in writing 
may here be mentioned ; all that is necessary to be done is to go over 
the writing with a dry pen, piece of pointed wood, or even after some 
practice simply with the eyes, exactly following the outlines of the 
characters ; but this must be done almost as quickly as if one were 
writing oneself. Without exaggerating anything and without being the 
dupe of one's imagination one finds oneself, when doing this, trans- 
ported into a particular state of mind, corresponding to that governing 
the writer when actually writing the documents under examination. 
One experiences nervous excitement, irritation, pleasure, or anger, when 
the writer has been excited, irritated, pleased, or angry ; nor does one 
only feel the disposition of the individual at the moment when he has 
been writing, but also the peculiarities of his character and nature ; for 
this however a certain amount of practice and a capacity for feeling 
the emotions of others are necessary. Here again it is important to 
re-examine a writing for the purposes of verification when one has 
subsequently become better informed about an individual. When for 
example the writing of an accused has been examined and a certain 
opinion formed about him, the whole work should be done over again and 
the two results re-examined when, subsequently, his guilt or innocence 
has been definitely established. 

When the identity of two writings has to be established, there is 
nothing else to do but to apply to a particular case what one has already 
learned from an appreciation of handwriting. He who in comparing 
two writings only places them side by side in order to find resemblences 
or differences will discover absolutely nothing, or if he do discover 


anything it will be in an exceptionally easy case. The only correct 
method is to study, examine, and determine the characteristics of each 
writing apart and then to compare the results obtained, but not the 
writings themselves; only after having carefully done this can the two 
documents be compared together for resemblances and differences. Now 
for this it is necessary to have special notions of what is meant by the 
words " resemblance " and " difference " ; we do not understand by this 
mere similarity or dissimilarity in the form of the letters. Everyone 
makes the same letter in quite a different way at different times, even 
indeed often in the same line ; and besides it is easy to imitate each letter, 
even the most characteristic. The identicality of letters really only exists 
if the same brain has formed them, if they proceed from the same 
thought, the same character, and the same nature. Two letters may have 
a marked air of resemblance but they are always different from one 
another if the same brain has not dictated them or if they have not been 
written in the same mood. This is the alpha and omega of all 
appreciation of writing ; the man who is capable of finding this difference 
will be able to formulate a correct judgment. It is true that in addition 
to this, other processes exist which may help us in judging a writing. 


Fig. 8. 

It is useful for instance whenever writing is to be examined critically 
to draw certain lines which enable characteristic peculiarities to be dis- 
covered. These lines are horizontal or demarcating lines: four of them 
should be drawn, such as we see in the first writing books of children, 
but instead of being straight these lines will be broken {Fig. 8) joining 
exactly the upper and lower extremities of all the letters. The straight- 
est line will be that joining the lower edge of the letters without loops 
or tails, (a c e m n o etc.) ; taken together the four lines will present 
characteristic peculiarities very important for comparison. 

But if a writing has been forged and in consequence written slowly 
and with many pauses the direction of the line alters in a most noticeable 
way, for the pen after each pause no longer finds the exact point at which 
it would have continued to write had no interruption taken place. The 
line will therefore be markedly interrupted though the characteristic 


distances between the lines may not at all be lost. If the case is an impor- 
tant one the documents should be, and are as a rule, photographed ; these 
photographs may then be handled at will and many things are often dis- 
covered in them which are missed when examining the document itself. 

Further, interruptions in words taken singly are very important. As 
a rule -words are written without stopping and in one continuous stroke. 
There are however exceptions : — 

1. When the word is so long that one is obliged to move the fore- 
arm which rests on the table, the pen is also moved. 

2. When, also in long words, near the commencement of the word 
an i has to be dotted or t stroked. When these signs come at the end of 
a word one, as a rule, writes the whole word before placing the sign, in 
other cases the word is usually interrupted in the middle, the sign being 
placed and the word continued. Take for example the word "misunder- 
standing", one probably stops after the first s and dots the i and then 
goes on to the end of the word before dotting the i in Ing and finally 
stroking the t. 

3. When certain letters do not join easily with others as e.g., s, 
or after certain capital letters, B, Z, D, etc. ; sometimes also after certain 
small letters, g, d, 1 ; and finally one sometimes breaks off in the middle of 
a letter itself, e.g., in p, d, k. 

4. When the person writing has got into a habit of breaking off" 
frequently without any particular reason. 

In every case such interruptions are characteristic of all writings 
and must on that account be minutely studied both in the undisputed 
and the disputed documents. If there is forgery or falsification in the 
latter it will be noticed that the interruptions are few and uimatural, 
that is, they cannot be explained by one of the above-cited reasons. 
The interruption is made simply to look at the model and for reflection. 
This indeed is the infallible sign of the forged writing. 

An important substratum for further and often important obser- 
vation is the handwriting of school-children, that is, in the country 
where the children do the writing for the whole household ; school 
copy-books or parts of them have before now played an important part 
in criminal cases, and the best, often the only, help has been given by 
the school-master, who has known the handwriting of a scholar with 
certainty. That one should avail oneself of such help is self-evident 

The way in which the pen is held should also be considered; i.e.. 
whether both points of the pen are pressed equally, or whether one of the 


points is pressed more or less heavily than the other ; as a rule it is diffi- 
cult to change the way in which one holds or presses a pen ; finally, the 
observations which have already been made above with regard to dipping 
the pen in the ink and the interruptions consequent thereon are very 

As to the spelling, upon which too much value is often placed, it 
proves absolutely nothing. The forger may know how to spell and yet 
intentionally introduce mistakes into what he is writing ; he may also 
make many mistakes in his ordinary writing while in the forged document 
he may have looked up some of the words in a dictionary ; besides, nothing 
prevents him from having it corrected by another person ; if there are 
faults both in the undisputed as well as in the disputed writing and 
these faults are not identical, this also proves nothing ; it must not be 
forgotten that only a person who writes without mistakes observes the 
rules of grammar ; a person who cannot spell follows no rule (at least 
generally speaking): sometimes he makes one fault, sometimes another, 
and sometimes he will write the word correctly just by chance. Those 
who, like Investigating Officers, are accustomed to read letters from 
all sorts of people know how much the spelling of uneducated persons 

Ames gives some interesting information regarding tracing. There 
are, he says, two general methods of perpetrating forgeries ; one by the aid 
of tracing, the other by free-hand writing. These methods differ widely 
in detail, according to the circumstances of each cases. 

Tracing can only be employed when a signature or writing is present 
in the exact or approximate form of the desired reproduction. It may 
then be done by placing the writing to be forged upon a transparency 
over a strong light, and then superimposing the paper upon which the 
forgery is to be made. The outline of the writing underneath will then 
appear sufficiently plain to enable it to be traced with pen or pencil, so as 
to produce a very accurate copy upon the superimposed paper. If the 
outline is with a pencil, it is afterward marked over with ink. 

Again, tracings are made by placing transparent tracing paper over 
the writing to be copied and then following the lines over with a pencil. 
This tracing is then pencilled or blackened upon the obverse side. When 
it is placed upon the paper on which the forgery is to be made, the lines 
upon the tracing are retraced with a stylus or other smooth, hard point, 
which impresses upon the paper underneath a faint outline, which serves 
as a guide to the forged imitation. 


111 forgeries perpetrated by the aid of tracing, the internal evidence is 
more or less conclusive, according to the skill of the forger. In the 
perpetration of a forgery the mind, instead of being occupied in the usual 
function of supplying matter to be recorded, devotes its special attention 
to the superintendence of the hand, directing its movements, so that the 
hand no longer glides naturally and automatically over the paper, but 
moves slowly w^ith a halting, vacillating motion, as the eye passes to and 
from the copy to the pen, moving under the specific control of the v^ill. 
Evidence of such a forgery is manifest in the formal, broken, nervous 
lines, the uneven flow of the ink, and the often retouched lines and shades. 
These evidences are unmistakable when studied with the aid of a micros- 
cope. Also, further evidence is adduced by a careful comparison of the 
disputed writing, noting the pen-pressure or absence of any of the delicate 
unconscious forms, relations, shades, etc., characteristic of the standard 

Forgeries by tracing usually present a close resemblance in general 
form to the genuine documents, and are therefore most sure to deceive 
the unfamiliar or casual observer. It sometimes happens that the original 
writing from which the tracings were made is discovered, in which case 
the closely duplicated forms will be positive evidence of forgery. The 
degree to which one signature or writing duplicates another may be rea- 
dily seen by placing one over the other and holding them to a window 
or other strong light, or b}' close comparative measurements. 

Traced forgeries, however, are not, as is usually supposed, necessarily 
exact duplicates of their originals, since it is very easy to move the paper 
by accident or design while the tracing is being made, or while making 
the transfer copy from it ; so that while it serves as a guide to tlic 
general features of the original, it will not, when tested, be an exact 
duplication. The danger of an exact duplication is quite generally under- 
stood by persons having any knowledge of forgery, and is therefore 
avoided. Another difficulty is that the very delicate features of the 
original writing are more or less obscured by the opaqueness of two 
sheets of paper, and are therefore changed or omitted from the forged 
simulation, and their absence is usually supplied, through force of habit, 
by equally delicate unconscious characteristics from the writing of the 
forger himself. Again, the forger rarely possesses the requisite skill to 
exactly reproduce his tracing. Many of the minutiae of the original 
writing are more or less microscopic and for that reason pass unobserved 
by the forger. Outlines of writing to be forged 'are sometimes simply 


drawn with a pencil and then worked up in ink. Such outhnes will not 
usually furnish so good an imitation as to form, since they depend w^holly 
upon the imitative skill of the forger. 

Besides the abovementioned evidences of forgery by tracing, where 
encil or carbon guide-lines are used, which must necessarily be removed 
y rubber, there are Hable to remain some slight fragments of the tracing 
Hues, while the mill finish of the paper will be impaired and its fibre more 
or less torn out, so as to lie loose upon the surface. Also the ink will be 
more or less ground off from the paper, thus giving the lines a grey and 
lifeless appearance. And as retouchings are usually made after the guide- 
lines have been removed, the ink, wherever they occur, will have a 
blacker and fresher appearance than elsewhere. All these phenomena are 
plainly manifest under the Microscope. Where the tracing is made 
directly with pen and ink over a transparency, as is often done, no rub- 
bing is necessary and of course the phenomena arising from rubbing do 
not appear. 

In concluding this section the author would add that there are dis- 
tinguished experts in hand-writing who often proceed in conformity with 
really scientific principles ; to these we may confide without apprehension 
work within their competence ; but we must not neglect to make our 
own observations in order to compare them with those of the expert, in 
the interests of our inquiry. On the other hand there are experts who 
proceed in an unscientific and cut-and-dried way; when we have only 
such at our disposal, it is much better to do the work ourselves. 

Section ix. — Photography. 
A. Importance of Photography from a judicial point of view. 

Photography is indeed neither an art nor a science ; its artistic or 
scientific claims it owes to various arts and a great number of sciences ; 
but the debts it has incurred have been paid with usury. It may be said 
now-a-days that there is no art or science which has not recourse to 
photography and does not owe it precious and incalculable benefits^*^^'"*^^^ 

Especially brilliant are the services rendered by photography to the 
criminal law ; however recent the applications of photography in criminal 
matters may be, yet to-day they are none the less multitudinous and 
there even exists a whole series but dimly foreshadowed. We know 
a^pproximately that we are able to employ photography in certain 
circumstances and hoia we ought to do so, and yet we know but an 


infinitesimal number of the cases in which it may be useful. The number 
of these cases will increase, for we are not content with having direct re- 
course to photography properly so called, but profit besides by all the 
applications of photography in other sciences. Whoever reads a photo- 
graphic review without losing sight of the part played by photography in 
criminal matters, will soon be convinced that, perhaps in a very short 
time, we will be in a position to apply new principles to at least some 
questions. We benefit moreover from the following circumstances. We 
have among lawyers a pretty considerable number of amateur photo- 
graphers, who know how photography may be made use of in criminal 
cases; we need not therefore fear that precious discoveries and experi- 
ments will remain unapplied. No doubt we must proceed systematically 
and gather together everything which may be of assistance in this con- 
nection. To obtain a bird's eye view of the matter, two questions may 
be asked with regard to the services of photography: What are the 
services it may render to criminalists to-day ? and What are the services 
which we may expect from it in the future ? As regards the former it 
would be necessary for the jurist as well as the amateur photographer, 
and generally speaking every person conversant VN^ith the applications of 
photography, to continually ask if, in the particular case he is studying, 
recourse can not be had to photography. As regards the latter point it 
must be asked in w^hat sense photography will have to be developed to 
solve such and such a difficulty. After this all the experiments made when 
questions are asked must be gathered together for subsequent profit.* 

To-day Kontgen rays have become of immeasurable importance to ur. 
For it can be said that they in certain cases bring the same certainty as to 
the living body that in the dead only post-mortem examination can 
afford. That thus extraordinary results are achieved need not be insisted 
upon. A full review of the many cases in which Kontgen photographs can 
already to-day be used from the forensic standpoint is to be found in the 
works of Goldfield^^^\ Levinsohn^*^^\ Nessef'^^^^'\ Gastpa7^*^'^\ BenedM^^^l 
HohknecJif^^\ Stdlzing^^^''\ and Trogey^^^^^. The rapidity with whicl 
these questions have developed is shewn by the fact that in the thiiv 
edition of this book we wrote *'what the French (namely Dr. Grassr 
in Montpellier and Dr. Ferroul in Nar bonne) have reported about seeing 
through solid bodies may well be a little exaggerated." 


* The authors would be glad to receive communications from their readers conce: 
cases in which photography has rendered services to justice or any indications whatsoen 
bearing upon the manner in which photography may bo used in specific eases. 


Let us first deal with the personality of the photographer who 
comes to the aid of the Investigating Officer ; here we are able to make 
a distinction, at least in theory: many cases occur where it is merely 
necessary to photograph without worrying whether the result is more 
or less successful ; it is always possible to rectify and correct in the 
report of the case even grave faults in a photograph. Such photographs 
may be, e.g., the place of a fire, the position of an individual who has 
been killed, the scene of a railway accident, landslip, or explosion, etc. 
If the photograph does not produce an exact impression it may be stated 
in the report as follows : " The distance between the buildings A & B 
does not seem so far to the eye as on the photograph ; it only extends 
according to measurements to double the length of the house A ", or 
" The position of a corpse was not so perpendicular as might be be- 
lieved from the photograph ; the grass upon which it lay was sloping 
about 12 degrees." 

Such photographic proofs, where it is only required to give an idea 
of localities or reproduce the position of objects, the general impression, 
or certain details, may be made by any one who has taken up photo- 
graphy ; it is not necessary to call in the professional photographer 
expressly for the purpose; the amateur photographer is more than 
sufficient. And as it is often embarassing, or at least costly, to engage a 
professional photographer, it is desirable that the greater number of 
Investigating Officers become amateur photographers ; in this way photo- 
graphs may be obtained in numerous criminal cases, thus elucidating the 
case and facilitating the work. 

It is in this way that the well-known chemical legist Dr. Paul 
Jeserich has worked for many years. On commissions which he has 
attended he has never ceased to insist upon the importance of photo- 
graphs from a criminal point of view* ; photography, he says, is entirely 
objective and always impartial ; it is capable of fixing certain details 
which may perhaps be of subsequent importance and of which no one 
has dreamed at the time of the inspection of localities. It is for this 
reason that the sensible advice is given of taking several views from 
different sides, for it frequently happens that at the time of the visit to 
the scene of the crime the important and decisive side cannot yet be 

* Concerning the objectivity and the apparent untruthfulness of photography too much 
cannot be said. We must try and find out why photographs frequently create a wholly wrong 
impression (see infra p. 264). 


And indeed many Investigating Officers have already recognized the 
importance of photography ; we often find appended to the report of an 
inspection of a locaHty a photograph made by an Investigating Officer 
in his capacity of amateur photographer, and it is needless to add that the 
report has gained enormously in clearness and simplicity thereby.* No 
doubt the State cannot order every Investigating Officer to buy a photo- 
graphic camera and its accessories, to procure all the necessary chemicals, 
and impose upon him the always wearisome duty of developing, printing, 
washing, fixing, and mounting. But little by little it will recognise 
the importance of photography from a criminal standpoint. The state 
ought to facilitate the use of photography and furnish photographic 
apparatus not only to criminal courts but also to all important police 
stations ; almost everywhere will be found an Investigating Officer or 
head-constable who will learn to work it and who will take over the 
business ^*®®\ By buying a large number of cameras their price, which is 
now-a-days not high, will be far from excessive and the profit obtained 
therefrom will largely compensate the initial outlay. So much for cases in 
which the Investigating Officer himself, or through a photographer called 
in by him, ought and can take photographs. It is quite otherwise in 
cases in which the scientific photographer or rather the photographic 
scientist comes in. It is these latter cases which give to photography the 
important and unexpected place which it occupies in criminal investi- 
gations ; it has already assumed this position though it may as yet be in 
its infancy and every day may bring to light a new side of its importance. 
Perchance in a little while we shall hardly be able to understand how 
we were able formerly to conduct any case without invoking at each 
moment the aid of scientific photography. It seems absolutely impos- 
sible to exaggerate the importance photography will assume several 
years hence. 

But care should be taken not to hope for too much. A short time 
ago for example a question was raised " Can a thought be brought on to 
a photographic plate?" Mr. Ingles Rogers seeks to answer this in " The 
Amateur Photographer." His efforts are indeed remarkable. He fixed 

* The author however considers that it is no part of a lawyer's functions to awaken the 
curiosity of the multitude ; the lawyer in taking photographs may omit something of importance. 
It would be best for him to take along with him a clever and educated amateur photographer 
or some one attached to the courts or in the police, of more than ordinary intelligence 
and acquainted with photography. To such a person the Investigating Officer could express his 
wishes on the spot and then get on with his own work. 



postage stamps on a black card, and gazed at them for a moment. The 
room was then darkened and a sensitive photographic plate was fixed in 
the same place where the stamps had been. When Rogers examined the 
plate 20 minutes later he found two clear pictures of the stamps upon it. 
These are reproduced in the Amateur Photographer. But were they 
really the stamps thought about ? 

It is difficult to indicate the line of demarcation between the work of 
the ordinary photographer and of the scientific photographer. This 
depends on the one hand upon the case itself and on the other upon 
the photographer. One case may be so simple that any photographer, 
no matter who, may suffice ; another may be so difficult that the man of 
science will be obliged to call in aid the whole of his knowledge. On 
other occasions it will be the previous culture of the photographer which 
will tell us whether or not he is capable of doing the work. In a special 
case, if the Investigating Officer has some idea of drawing, physics, etc., 
he will set to work, when another deprived of these qualifications would 
have to abstain. In the following pages some examples will be cited in 
which recourse may be had to photographers; but no distinction will 
be made between the work of the ordinary and that of the scientific 
photographer ^^°°\ 

B. Particular cases of the employment of Photography. 

It is hardly possible to exhaust by complete enumeration the number 
of cases in which photography may be employed ; it would be necessary 
to gather together with great trouble all cases known to date and, even 
if all were registered, the list would no longer be complete to-morrow. 
No other pretention is here made than to give a few examples in order 
to encourage others to search out new realms in which photography is 
capable of rendering us service. Speaking generally it may be said that 
it should always be employed when it is desired to obtain absolutely 
objective, permanent, and easily controlled proofs capable of bringing 
about a conviction : the sensitized plate is the new retina of the man of 
science {Prof. W. Vogel) ; it may then be said that photography may be 
employed every time that there is room to suppose that the camera sees 
further than the eye, or, if it does not see further, each time that an 
object should be fixed for future reference. The photograph is the 
image reflected by a mirror but it is a fixed image ; this definition itself 
proves that photography, however paradoxical the assertion may appear, 


shows US more than the eye, even when it shows us no more than the 
eye can see. A painter, and especially a portrait painter, after having 
worked for a certain time, places his portrait before a mirror and con- 
siders the image which the latter reflects ; he often discovers great 
faults which he was mcapable of seeing upon the portrait itself. The 
reason is that when one looks for a long time at an object, especially 
when one has been doing so since its origin, and been assisting at the 
whole of its development, one always sees it under the same aspect, 
which prevents certain defects being noticed ; but when the image is 
reflected by the mirror one sees the object under lateral inversion and in 
consequence under another aspect ; details may then perhaps be dis- 
covered which have formerly escaped notice. In photography exactly 
the same may be said ; an object has been observed with great minute- 
ness and application ; a whole series of observations have been made 
regarding it ; nothing striking has been noticed about it because one has 
become accustomed to its appearance; but if it be photographed, the new 
colour, the new situation, and the new aspect enable us to see it from 
another point of view and reveal fresh details which have not yet been 

Here then we have to start with quite a number of cases in which 
photography may be useful, that is to say, each time that an object and 
its particular relation and position with respect to other objects is difficult 
or impossible to explain; e.g., in the case of an accident supposed to have 
been caused by a criminal hand but which cannot easily be explained in 
its entirety, the photograph of the scene of the accident will be able, 
perhaps at once, perhaps later, to furnish the desired explanation. It is 
the same when one has doubts regarding the manner in which thieves 
have set to work in a burglary, when the position of a corpse is unnatu- 
ral, when conclusions may be drawn from that position without having 
sufficient proof for doing so at one's disposal, and finally when it is a 
question of the appearance of wounds, writings, results of arson, etc. 
We have all had occasion to say, '' This position ought to give me an 
important clue for finding the correct point of view " ; such a reflection 
ought always to make us photograph the object. The photograph in factg 
procures us another point of view, another way of looking at things, an 
often the desired explanation. And if the Investigating Officer who h 
himself seen the surroundings of the offence does not find the solution! 
perhaps another to whom the photograph is subsequently shown, will 
find it therein : but if no photograph exists, no one will any longer have 


the exact position of the object before his eyes and we shall never obtain 
the explanation we are looking for. 

Another class of cases exists in which objects may be photographed ; 
first, on every occasion on which it is the duty of the Investigating 
Ofi&cer to see and describe an object and its position in such a manner 
that persons who have subsequently to deal with the case may be enabled 
to form as clear an idea thereon as possible. Theoretically, the Judge 
trying the case, the Public Prosecutor, the expert, the counsel for the 
defence, and the jury or assessors, ought to see everything the Investi- 
gating Officer has seen. As this is generally impossible, the Investigating 
Officer has to supply the lack of the direct view by description. But 
how much clearer, more convincing, and more objective, this description 
would be, if he supplemented it with photographs. In cases such as the 
following we ought to photograph : places where a man has been killed, 
where i;here has been a quarrel, where a child has been abandoned, where a 
person has been the victim of an accident, the scene of a fire, the scene of 
an important railway smash, boiler explosion, collapse of a bridge, house, 
- or other building, the scene of a burglary, dacoity, or the counterfeiting 
of coin, a disputed water channel in cases of rioting connected therewith, 
and many others which will occur to the mind as occasion arises. 

We will here cite a typical example demonstrating that photography 
may aid us even without our knowledge. During the riots at the time 
of the marriage of Prince Croy at Brussels several young men were 
arrested who pretended that they had taken no part in the affray and 
had been carried into the crowd by chance and against their will. But 
a policeman happened to notice that an amateur photographer had not 
allowed the occasion to escape of taking an instantaneous photograph 
of the riot from his window ; the photographer was asked for a proof, 
which was immediately enlarged ; and it turned out that several of the 
jroung men under arrest, the so-called "passive spectators", were in the 
jhotograph ; they were distinctly recognizable and as unhappily they 
Vere represented with mouths wide open to shout and arms in the air 
)randishing sticks, they immediately gave up the line of defence that 
hey had been dragged into the disturbance against their will. 

A report of a similar case appeared in the '' Daily Express " at the time 
f the assassination of President MacKinley. During that fatal visit of 
he murdered President to the Buffalo Exhibition, the Kinematograph 
/as of course in constant activity. An exquisite series of living pic- 
ares shows the President as he delivered his address and shook hands 


with the people who approached him. All his movements shortly before 
the moment when the fatal bullet struck him were fixed upon the films. 
When some days later these living photographs were developed at the 
Edison Laboratory and examined by officers of the Criminal Investi- 
gation Department, a discovery was made of the greatest importance. 
Among the closely packed multitude surging around MacKinley, one 
face and figure stood out with striking distinctness. It was Czolgosz. 
The first pictures of the series show the President as he steps on the 
platform and begins his speech. A man is next seen making his way 
with difficulty through the crowd. Various people whom he pushes reck- 
lessly aside turn round on him with angry looks. Undisturbed, however, 
he forges ahead and seems to succeed in making his way through the 
living wall. Then he stands still for a second and turns his face un- 
suspectingly towards the camera. Desperate resolution can be seen in 
his eyes. Then he goes on further, pushing and thrusting, until he is 
almost immediately before the President. Again he faces the camera. 
At this moment he seems agitated and excited. Now his hat is knocked 
over his eyes and hastily he puts it back. He then looks wildly aground, 
and appears as if waiting for some one in the multitude and expecting a 
signal. Thousands of people are in the picture with him, but most of 
them stand with their backs to the camera. The features of all who 
turned round are clear enough to make them recognizable in the photo- 
graph. From these films drawings were taken for the secret Police 
Service, with the object of discovering by their help some clue to the 
confederates of the murderer. 

Acquittals have also been brought about by "accidental photography." 
" The Amateur Photographer " relates how an Englishman was accused i 
in Rio-de-Janeiro of the murder of his Brazilian colleague. A few days 
before the two had a violent quarrel but this was stated to have been 
amicably made up and on the day in question they went together for a 
sail in the harbour in a small yacht. In the evening the Englishman 
returned with the dead body of his friend on board, and stoutly maintained 
that death was due to an accident, his companion having fallen from the 
mast-head on to the deck. An oar was missing and the medical experts 
gave it as their opinion that death was the result of a blow on the head 
with a stick and that an oar might probably have been the weapon used. 
An inquiry was proceeded with and the previous quarrel made things 
look very black against the accused. Now a passenger on a steamer had 
happened to take a snap-shot of the harbour and, on developing it, a dark 


spot was noticed on the white sail of a small yacht which chanced to be 
in the neighbourhood.- On this being enlarged the spot proved to be the 
body of a man falling from the mast, thus conclusively proving the truth 
of the Englishman's story and bringing about his acquittal. 

Apart from such situations perishable objects and those likely to 
change their appearance should also be photographed. Firstly, ivounds, 
respecially when the instrument with which they have been made is 
unknown or when the relative position of the aggressor and the victim 
is doubtful, or when it is not certain whether the wound has been in- 
flicted upon a person while living or after death. Secondly, footprints, 
impressions of which cannot be taken and whose relative position is of 
some importance ; it may even be said that all footprints ought to be 
photographed before the impression of them is taken ; thus provision 
would be made against every eventuality, for the impression may not 
succeed and the footprint may be destroyed. Thirdly, the same holds 
■with finger-prints upon the body of the victim of an assault or upon 
other objects ; apart from their scientific interpretation, the size, shape, 
and general appearance may be of great importance (see post Section xi. 
Finger-prints) . Fourthly, the ptosition of a person hilled ought always 
to be photographed and from different sides, if one is sure that the corpse 
is still in its original position and has not been moved by earlier comers. 
A whole series of important clues will, the author believes, be furnished 
by the following property of the photographic process. This process 
renders red and brown darker and clearer than they appear to the e^'e, 
tand the photographic plate also reproduces the colours red and brown 
[even when a human eye cannot see them at all. This peculiarity explains 
f-'the often cited case of '* The small-pox woman." A woman, apparently 
[in the best of health, had her photograph taken, and when the photo- 
[^rapher developed the negative he noticed that the face and the neck 
tW^ere spotted over with a multitude of dark marks ; yet the photographer 
'iid not remember having seen such marks upon the skin of the woman ; 
lis astonishment increased when he learnt that the woman had become 
11 some days later and that her illness was small-pox. This fact is only 
-xplicable on the assumption that the marks of the illness were already 
Existent when she posed for her photograph but that they were as yet 

ut slightly red and that the sensitized plate had registered them when 

le human eye was unable to perceive them. 

Experts in colours are also aware of similar phenomena. Photo- 

faphs sometimes show marks on the face, e.g., on the cheeks, which are 



not noticeable naturally. These are old injuries which the lapse of years 
has rendered invisible to the eye, but they have left a little redness 
which is clearly brought out by photography. 

These remarkable facts lead us to believe that it is possible in a 
general way to render hroivn and red marks yet in a latent state visible 
by photography. Every pressure exercised on the skin of a man results 
in the breaking or at least in the inflaming of the small veins, and 
each time redness is produced. If the pressure has been very feeble 
the redness will exist objectively but will not be discernible by the 
eye. This redness is particularly common after scratches, attempts at 
strangulation, blows with the fist, falls, squeezing, and also after inflam- 
mation caused by poison, heat, rubbing, etc., when the attacks are not 
severe. But in most cases the important thing is, not to prove that there 
has been an attack of a particular violence ; it suffices to know that there 
has been an attack ; and the traces must be looked for both on the victim 
and on his aggressor, who no doubt wishes to pass them off as marks 
of resistance in a case of legitimate defence. The question is specially 
serious if the victim has been* wounded when already at the point of 
death and when the beats of the heart are already weakened. In these 
cases the blood can no longer spurt forcibly from the injured blood- 
vessels, and even an energetic attack may produce only a slight redness^^*\ 

It is easy to conjecture cases which may be met with in practice; e.g., 
a person has been suffocated by cushions or other soft articles, so that no 
exterior trace of violence can be perceived. The verdict would most 
likely be ''natural death", but the photograph will perhaps discover very 
distinct traces of strangulation or perhaps indicate that the individual 
in question has been firmly held and then stifled. In the same way 
there may be found on an individual who has apparently committed 
suicide by hanging, bruises or effusions of blood towards the skin which 
the eye will not notice but which the photographic plate will render 
visible ; these contusions will often permit of the supposition that death 
has been preceded by a struggle (see Chapter XVI, Section iv) . 

It is also important to establish the existence of traces of resistance 
on the person of the supposed aggressor ; the person assaulted may have 
given him blows or scratches, or attempted to choke him, but so feebly 
that the camera is alone able to discover the marks. Moreover the 
redness produced (we are of course always dealing with white-skinned 
persons) may have been very distinct at first and have disappeared 
the time of arrest, so that only photography can establish its existence 



tit therefore seems the right thing to do, in all cases of suspicious death 
of white persons, to have the corpse photographed as well as the suspected 
assailant, when resistance is believed to have been offered, and to search 
on the body for traces of redness. Nor ought we to forget objects from 
which an attempt has been made to obliterate marks of blood, e.g., linen, 
floors, walls, etc. It is difficult to submit large surfaces to chemical and 
microscopic examination, but if they be photographed, perhaps the places 
where such marks exist will be discovered ; and the particular spot once 
found microscopic and chemical examination may be proceeded with (see 
Chapter XIV y Section iv). In certain circumstances the photographing 
of internal organs may also be recommended, e.g., the brain, mucous 
membrane of the respiratory channels or stomach, when it is not known 
whether such redness is natural or not. In poisoning cases it may be 
possible to determine with greater accuracy the moment when the poison 
has been absorbed. When, e.g., fairly large particles of arsenic remain 
for some time attached to the mucous membrane of the stomach, the 
latter becomes enflamed at the places where the arsenic has remained 
longest. If this redness is imperceptible to the eye it is possible for 
photography to discover it, and therefrom can be deduced the length of 
time the arsenic has been in the stomach.* 

With respect to this it should be remarked in a general way that on 
an ordinary photographic plate colours do not come out as in the reality, 
that is to say, they do not make the same light and dark impression as 
they make in nature (even those plates know as " orthochromatic plates" 
are incapable of completely remedying this) : red and brown become as 
has been said, darker, blue and violet generally appear lighter but also at 
times darker, according to the chemical nature of the colouring matter. 
Fluorescent bodies influence the shades of colours in various ways ; green 
generally become somewhat darker, yet bodies are known, e.g., the green 
flower of the gooseberry which come out quite light ; natural colours 
photograph better than artificial ; the photograph of a bouquet of natural 
flowers will give a much more accurate impression than that of a painted 
bouquet however faithful the painting may be. In many cases these 
small details must not be overlooked ^^°^\ 

We should also mention that in some circumstances it is good to take 
several photographs of a person who is shamming. For example, when 

* As regards the photography of latent red marks the editors request any one who may 
make experiments in the matter to communicate the result to them, especially with reference 
to dark-skinned persons. 


dealing with an accused who constantly contracts the muscles of his face, 
rolls his eyes, makes impossible grimaces, etc., and thus leads us to suspect 
shamming, he should be placed in a room lending itself to photography, 
well lit and furnished with a trap permitting observation without being 
oneself seen ; a sufficient opening is also arranged to hold the camera which 
is brought into play when the person under observation is in a good 
position and is behaving naturally ; needless to say the photograph must 
be an instantaneous one. 

Nor must it be forgotten that magnesium-light photographs are often 
necessary. When, e.g., a corpse has been found on a busy road and it is 
not advisable to wait for day-light (owing to the heavy day traffic) to 
photograph blood or footprints, the spot must be photographed with the 
aid of artificial light. 

We now come to photography of objects observed under the micros- 
cope ^^'^^ ; this is not the business of the Investigating Officer but in 
some cases he ought to absolutely insist on its being done. We sug- 
gest that the microscopist should sign no report without adding thereto 
a photograph of what he has observed under the instrument. Dr. 
Paul Jeserich was probably the first to draw attention to the necessity 
of such photographs. The idea came to him when during the argument 
of a case he heard the objection raised that what the experts had seen 
under the microscope and taken for blood was perhaps only mushroom 
mould or grains of starch. This objection could not then be refuted, 
since the objects microscopically examined had long before decomposed 
and been destroyed, being thus incapable of further use in the case. 
This drawback is easily got over by asking the microscopist to prepare 
and exhibit photographs of liis experiments. Any mistake on the part 
of the expert may thus be excluded, for in his zeal he may perhaps 
see many things which are non-existent. He presents his photograph 
saying, as much for his own peace of mind as for that of others: 
'*look at the photograph and form your opinion." The theory that 
the expert's duty is merely to aid the Court in forming an opinion 
is well laid down both in PjUgland and India. With fingerprints for 
instance it is for the expert to point out resemblances to the Judge and 
jury and leave them to draw their own conclusions as to identity of 
impression. That identity of impression means identity of person, is 
of course purely a question for the expert (see Sec. xi) . 

Proof of this kind may be given at any moment — even after many 
years, provided that the record of the case is still in existence ; and is 


particularly easy to lay before a Judge and jury. The Parisians in 
1871, when sending letters and despatches by pigeon post, gummed them 
side by side upon a wall (like tapestry) and then made a photographic 
reduction of the whole surface (measuring several square metres) upon 
a sheet of paper several centimetres square. This reduction was then 
rolled up inside a quill and attached to the pigeon's tail. On arriving 
at its destination the little photograph with its hundreds of letters was 
enlarged by the microscopic lantern and projected on a screen or white 
wall and anyone who expected a letter had but to go and read it. Let 
us apply this process to judicial photography ; the microscopic photo- 
graph of the object in question as well as of the objects which it is 
to be compared with or differentiated from may be enlarged in open 
court, thrown upon a wall, and explained to the Judge and jury by 
the expert. By this means the possibility of error will as far as possible 
be averted. 

This procedure will be adopted not only in determining the presence 
of blood, sperm, poison, or one or other of those numerous substances 
which the microscope is capable of recognizing and which can be seen 
directly, but also in connection with other microscopic phenomena. Here 
is a most interesting case : in a house destroyed by fire the half-carbo- 
. nised corpse of the landlord was discovered and there was room to believe 
that a murder had taken place ; we know that fresh blood has certain 
microscopic properties which alter greatly under the action of certain 
chemical agents. But if blood be submitted to the action of carbon 
monoxide, which is most poisonous, it does not alter under the influence 
of chemicals ; the question was whether the person had been suffocated 
in the fire or killed before it began. In the first hypothesis the blood 
would present the characteristics of blood that has absorbed carbon 
monoxide, and one breath of this gas undiluted is quite sufficient to 
affect the whole blood of the body in a most marked manner. Dr. 
Paul Jeserich experimented with a few drops of the blood which still 
remained in the heart of the corpse and was able to establish that 
death was due to suffocation. At the same time he took a photograph 
of the spectrum and exhibited it at the trial, when the corpus delicti had 
already been long in a state of putrefaction. 

The same expert has also exhibited in Court photographs of his ex- 
periments with hair (e.g., in the crime passionel of Bochum) : the jury 
was then in a position to consider the case just as if they had seen the 
material objects mentioned by the expert. 



The use of magic lantern slides or even of radiographs (sciagraphs) 
may yet play a great rble in the Law Courts. Anyone who has had to 
show and explain a very small object in Court is aware of the inadequacy 
of present methods. The explanation has to be given over and over 
again ; to the several witnesses, the Public Prosecutor, the complainant 
or Plaintiff, the defendant and his counsel, and the Judge and jury. All 
who have business in courts know how tedious and defective is this 
method. But with a whitewashed wall, or a sheet, or piece of white 
paper stretched on a frame or on the wall, the objects may be shown 
enlarged by means of the lantern ; not only can transparencies be shown 
but also wood-engravings, photographs, prints, handwriting, etc., in short 
everything on paper which transmits the light and whose size permits of 
its entering the apparatus. The necessary darkening of the Court would 
be a difficulty which a little ingenuity would soon overcome. Theo- 
retically this idea has been widely approved and has already been turned 
to practical account^^°^\ 

Photography is also of great importance from the point of view of 
the examination of manuscripts^^°^\ We have already mentioned that in 
comparing handwriting recourse should be had to photography so as for 
example to be able to make drawings upon the photographs, which would 
be impossible on the original. But photography can also furnish direct 
proofs, for it brings to light things which could not be seen by the 
naked eye. In this connection Jeserich of Paris, Gohert of Berlin, and 
Eder of Vienna were the initiators ; since their first experiments it is 
known that photography is the easiest method of discovering erasures, 
obliterations, and rubbings out, which cannot be seen with the naked 
eye. By choosing a suitable position the contrasts may be increased, so 
that the parts of the writing which remain appear to us with a darker 
tint. It is also easy to determine the employment of various chemical 
products ; indeed those parts of the paper where they have been applied, 
have a different colour when photographed. Very often writing effaced 
by an acid becomes quite readable in the photograph. 

Photography is also able to detect the presence of various kinds of 
ink which may have been employed ; in this way we are frequently able 
to prove a forgery. The forger often finds (with great trouble) an ink 
with the same colour as the original but to the eye alone does it appear 
identical. If a suitable light be chosen for photographing the writing, 
{e.g., gas), and the plate be properly developed, the two apparently similai* 
writings will come out, the one light gray and the other dark brown. In 


comparison of liandwriting, photography is also of some value in other 
ways. Above all it is possible to reduce the tv^o writings, the forged and 
the genuine, to the same scale, thus enormously facilitating comparison ; 
again it is possible to get rid of the troublesome difference in paper, since 
the photos are on the same paper. If need be, comparison may be facili- 
tated by photographing (as advised by Jeserich) one of the two writings 
on a transparent film which is then placed upon the other writing. Points 
of resemblance may thus be very accurately compared. 

Finally work is enormously facilitated by making photographic en- 
largements of the two writings. These should be as large as possible. 
x\fter a long examination of writing, especially very small writing, the 
sight becomes confused, so that it is difficult to see things clearly ; and it 
is often necessary to interrupt the work. But with enormous letters to 
work with, observation is very easy ; moreover all the details, differences, 
resemblances, hesitations, places where a dip of the pen has been taken, 
stoppages, and all other points connected with a writing are better judged ; 
and in a short time a sure and definite decision may be pronounced. 
Comparison by means of enlargement with the projection apparatus has 
succeeded admirably. 

It is even sometimes possible to read, with the aid of photography, 
writing which, so to speak, does not exist. When for example, one 
writes with a very hard pencil upon a writing block or upon a blotter, the 
writing leaves an impression on the next sheet of the block or upon the 
blotter ; nothing is visible to the naked eye, but if the sheet or blotter 
be greatly enlarged by photography the writing thereon may often be 
very distinctly read. 

Not only can written characters be observed by means of photography 
but as a rule any object which has been in contact with a writing. Thus 
Dr. Belli, of the Sheriff's Court of Berlin, was consulted as to whether 
there had formerly been a stamp upon a bill of exchange ; he photographed 
the bill of exchange and at the same time a blank bill to which a stamp 
had been affixed for a very short time. The difference was astonishing 
and the answer to the question asked could be given in the negative with 
the most absolute certainty. (Phot. Arch. 1891, No. 681). It seems to 
us indeed that this example (proof of contact of two bodies) can give a 
clear idea of the incalculable series of cases belonging to all possible 
branches in which photography is capable of rendering the greatest 
services. But such cases must be looked for and when found made a 
note of. Another case had to do with the forgery of the name of a 


deceased person to a receipt. No question of fraud had been raised when 
traces of obHterated writing were accidentally observed, while looking at 
the paper by the reflected oblique rays of the sun, on those portions of the 
paper not actually covered by the later writing. These traces were copied 
as accurately as possible and the copy superimposed on the new writing 
so that the blanks in the copy were filled up. Thus the original script 
was accurately determined. By photography the fraud was rendered 

Advantage may possibly be drawn from what is called "Composite" 
photography. The idea arose some }^ears ago and the following experi- 
ment was performed. About twenty persons were chosen and made to 
sit one after another so that the head of each was in exactly the same 
position. Their photographs w^ere taken one after the other, a three 
seconds exposure being used. A very slow plate was employed, i.e., it 
required an exposure of (30 seconds, so that by the time it was completely 
exposed the twenty persons were photographed, and the result was a 
composite picture of them all. The possible application of this in crimi- 
nal investigation is as follows. In an important case it is desired to 
know what an accused looked like five years ago. If a photograph of 
him taken 10 years ago can be found the man is photographed the same 
size, attitude, and with the same style of hair and beard, etc., as in that 
photograph. A composite picture is then made of the two photographs 
and the result may possibly give us some idea of what the man looked 
like five years before. This suggestion is made for what it is worth. 
Composite photography has indeed been reduced of late to a fine art and 
most beautiful pictures have been produced by combining the heads of 
well-known beauties belonging respectively to various countries thus ob- 
taining examples of the type of beauty characteristic of each country. 
(See Strand Magazine, March, 1906.) 

In a general way the fact must not be lost sight of that photographs 
often bear a different aspect to the real object, from the point of view of 
dimension, reciprocal situation, and especially general impression. Heln- 
rich Streintz ^^^°^ has pointed out the reason, but very few cameras in 
present use can remedy the defect. It is some explanation that a good 
photograph reproduces objects much more distinctly than we can see 
them. When at some distance from a tiled roof we cannot distinguish 
one tile from another ; a painter recognizes this by representing the roof 
with a uniform colour corresponding to the impression. The Japanese 
seem to see more distinctly than we do for they represent such objects 


with minute accuracy and their drawings thus appear to us very crude. 
It is the same with photography ; it reproduces the tiled roof much more 
accurately than we see it ; we only perceive a brown colour. It is thus 
that photography appears to us to some extent untrue and wanting in 
naturalness : added to this, a certain depth and other effects of light and 
distance exist and in short the image appears unfaithful. As we have 
already remarked, such defects and their explanation must be pointed out 
to the Court. Moreover it must not be forgotten that the photographer 
usually at hand has rarely a correct idea of what to do ; he knows how to 
embellish a portrait but he does not know how to take an accurate one ; 
the direction therefore from w^hich the photograph should be taken must 
never be overlooked and it would be well to remember the following points : 

1. The sun should be upon the side of or behind the camera. This 
adds to the clearness of the photograph ; if the sun is behind the object, 
the photograph will be flat, as if taken during cloudy weather. This 
latter principle must then be applied, if perchance it is really desired to 
give an impression that the photograph has been made in dull weather. 

t2. When photographing persons in the open air it must be remem- 
bered that when the light comes from the front of the camera it flattens 
the face, when it comes from above it renders the countenance dark 
and forbidding, and that the direct i-ays of the sun cover the face with 
marks and give it a hard expression. 

3. When it is necessary to photograph house interiors, a photo- 
graph by artificial light should be obtained, in which case the windows 
do not interfere. If this is quite impossible, the dark part of the room 
must at least be lightened by light reflected by mirrors to which some 
movement is given. 

4. Sometimes, when for example it is necessary to photograph 
rapidly in the middle of the night, if it is absolutely impossible to procure 
magnesium, it is possible to make use of Hghfnifig powders which may be 
prepared at the nearest pharmacy: e.g., parts of saltpetre, 2 parts of 
sulphur, and J part of sulphurated antimony are reduced to powder and 
lightly filled into tubes of paper ; or saltpetre may be melted in a vessel 
over a lamp and flours of sulphur added thereto in small quantities. 
Each time the sulphur is thrown upon the melted saltpetre a bvight light 
results. But these powders-.can only be employed when the resulting gas, 
which has a disagreeable smell, has sufficient means of escape. If one 
has long enough time to have an exposure of say several hours, a few 
lamps may be sufficient for lighting purposes. 


5. Upon every photograph the scale of reduction must be indicated ; 
the best method is to photograph at the same time the measure of com- 
parison. In photographing a vertical surface which will in consequence 
not be deformed, since its various parts will not be at different distances 
f^om the camera, e.g., the facade of a house, it would be well to 
photograph a man at the same time ; proportions will thus be accurately 

6. With each photograph the date, hour, temperature, light, points 
of the compass, time of exposure, kind of camera, and the lenses employed 
must be indicated. 

7. Shining and light objects present great difficulties to photography. 
We must be specially careful not to dust them, for if that is done they 
come out still worse. When possible, shining objects should be neutralized, 
for example iron and glass objects with plumbago or with a mixture of 
magnesium carbonate and milk, or Russian talcum mixed with essence of 
turpentine. These washes harm neither the photograph nor the article 
photographed and are easily got rid of. 

8. In photographing machinery {e.g., after accidents) care must be 
taken not to do so when other work is in progress near by ; the vibration 
of other machinery in motion would greatly spoil the photograph. 

9. Photographs of very fine objects in relief, e.g., inscriptions, 
deteriorations on objects, papillary lines, etc., should be taken in a very 
strong lateral light, for shadows augment the relief ; if the latter come 
out too strong the fact must be mentioned in the report. 

We have said above that photographs may appear to us to a certain 
extent to be untruthful, but it must be noted that from a theoretical stand 
point it is by no means so certain that the camera is a bad reproducer of 
objects. We ourselves perhaps do not see things exactly from the point of 
view of perspective. When for example one shows his hands to a person 
sitting in front of him so that one of them is about a yard nearer him 
than the other, they will appear to be of equal size ; but if a camera be 
put in place of the person and the hands photographed the hand nearest 
the camera will appear much larger than the other. According to 
the laws of perspective, this latter phenomenon conforms to the reality, 
for the hand nearest one ought to appear larger to the eye, only we do 
not notice the difference because conclusions drawn from experience 
influence our observation. We know the two hands are really of equal 
size and this knowledge has so powerful an action that we see them of 
equal size although, being in perspective, they ought to appear unequal. 


On looking at the photograph of the hands, however, the principle of 
experience no longer acts with the same force ; on the contrary, we 
remember that what we are looking at is a picture and attribute the 
fault to it and say it is an inaccurate reproduction, for we see upon 
the picture an exact reproduction from the point of view of perspective 
and we notice an enormous difference in size, but it does not seem to 
agree with the reality. Let it not be said that " wide-angle objectives " 
as they are called, which for example photograph two corners of a room 
at the same time, prove the entire contrary. This objective (if it does 
not distort) no doubt reproduces objects as they are in reality only we 
cannot seize them without turning the eyes. At one glance we observe 
but very little of a thing at a distance of five or six yards. We only 
perceive distinctly an object of about the size of a chair without moving 
the eyes; what lies to the right and left of the chair we are looking 
at is seen by us only approximately ; we only see it accurately if we 
remove our eyes from the chair. If therefore a "wide-angle objective" 
is employed lo photograph two walls of a room at the same time (at a 
distance of five or six yards) the resulting picture appears quite strange 
to us, because in nature we cannot see so much at a single glance; we 
say the picture is inaccurate although each particular object therein is 
reproduced exactly and distinctly. The lens shows more objects than 
can be seen contemporaneously by the naked eye, but these objects are 
not reproduced inaccurately. 

f C. Recognition of Criminals from their Photographs. 

In all countries photography is employed for the identification of 
persons, especially since its uses have so largely developed. But it 
is only done systematically in large towns where the police adminis- 
tration is particularly well-skilled in the method. Paris is at the head 
of this movement as a perusal of the book (now in its 2nd edition) 
Judicial Photography, by Alphonse Bertilloii, Chief of the Identification 
Department, Prefecture of Police, Paris, (sii-s^^) ^jjj readily demons- 

It is beyond all doubt that this branch should be organised everywhere 
and not only in the principal towns. The photography of criminals by a 
uniform process, the reciprocal interchange of portraits and their correct 
utilisation, are of such great importance that this process should be 
elevated into a methodical system. Only in this way will photography 




be capable of rendering considerable services ; but if the miserable money 
question prevents ns putting the project into execution as rapidly n,s we 
would wish, it is still necessary to proceed according to certain rules, 
when we prepare and make use of photographs of suspected persons or 
criminals. Taking Bertillon's book as a guide w^e shall refer to the most 
important points. 

1. What is the best position for the individual to be photographed 
in? This question depends upon the object of the photograph. For the 
comparison of two photographs, or of a photograph with a person, the 
best is beyond all doubt a sharp profile ; it is in this position that outlines 
show up best ; the various prominences of the face are not projected 
thereon, and it is easy to measure with accuracy the dimensions necessary 
for comparison. But it is quite another thing when it is desired to identify 
a person from his photograph; then a profile is absolutely useless. Indeed 
we only see a person's profile in one position, while we see more or less 
the front face in all other positions : we are often unacquainted with the 
profile of a person whom we know intimately. We are surprised to find 
that an individual we are in the habit of seeing constantly has, when we 
look at him sideways, quite another aspect to that w^hich we imagined. 
A person's face seen from the front does not appear strange to us but it is 
not characteristic, because the nose is wholly projected and thus difficult to 
distinguish, and because the ears, so important for purposes of recognition, 
are deficient in clearness of outline. The most favourable position will 
therefore be the three-quarters face, because then the nose stands out 
distinctly, one ear is visible, and moreover because in this position we are 
best able to recognize people. Two proofs however must be taken ; that 
of the profile and that of the three-quarters face, thus doubling the expense 
and the number of photographs to be preserved. In England this is got 
over by placing the subject to be photographed in the three-quarters 
position and arranging a mirror beside the face which reflects the exact 
profile. So as to get the mirror at the wished for distance from the face 
the lower right hand corner of the mirror is cut away thus making a 
place for the shoulder. In this way, on the same negative the profile 
and the three-quarters face are united. Bertillon rejects this method : he 
asserts that if such a double photograph be shewn about everyone w^ould 
immediately know that it had to do with a suspected individual ; but in 
these matters everyone always does know this when a photograph is shown 
and besides the method is so practical that its universal adoption must b 




2. The position of the individual to be photographed leads to 
another question ; Is it preferable to photograph the bust or the whole 
figure? In a general way it may be said that a face is more easily re- 
cognized the larger it is ; therefore the bust is to be recommended. But 
if the individual in question has some peculiarity easy of recognition, the 
full length photograph is to be preferred. Such a proof has also the 
advantage of permitting, if need be, th& enlargement of the head, whereas 
the person is not always at our disposal to photograph his feet. We must 
not suppose that peculiar movements or twitchings will be reproduced 
in a photograph of the attitude or physiognomy of the subject. If an 
individual is afflicted with such movements, it is recommended only to 
photograph the bust, because the witnesses, and not only uneducated 
witnesses, always look on a full length photograph handed to them for 
the particular movements they know so well, and if they do not find them 
they fail to recognize the photograph. 

3. As regards the format of the photograph Bertillon considers 
reduction to one-seventh of natural size is best. This is no doubt a con- 
venient format, as the long reign of Cartes de visite demonstrates. The 
head reduced in this proportion is always large enough to be readily 
identified, even by people who seldom see photographs. We think however 
that size is not of so much importance,- and it matters little whether the 
natural size is reduced to a sixth or an eighth. The essential thing is to 
employ the same scale of reduction. Indeed the exchange of photographs 
is generally carried out when distances are great and comparison is much 
facilitated when the photographs are not of different sizes. It would be 
best to adopt a uniform scale of reduction foi- all photographs made for 
the use of justice and the police. This would not be difficult to carry 
out in practice. 

4. As to the tone of the photographs, that is to say whether they 
should be lighter or darker, and in consequence whether there should be 
a shorter or longer exposure, it is impossible to give a general answer. 
The face of the sitter is nearly always adapted to a particular tone 
and an experienced and intelligent photographer always knows on merely 
looking at him whether the photograph will be better {i.e., more like) 
according to whether the tone is lighter or darker. If the photographer 
cannot tell this, the best shade must be found by degrees, for the difference 
is often so great that the tone is no indifferent matter. 

5. The usual format must often be departed from, especially when 
it is desired to compare a photograph with a particular object. If for 


example the description of a person is given, the photograph must be 
taken so that the most important signs indicated in the description are 
reproduced; if a photograph ah^eady exists, the new photograph will of 
course, to facilitate comparison, be made in the same style (as regards 
size, position, tone, paper, etc.) as the old one. 

6. If two photographs with different hair, beard, etc., are to be 
compared (if, e.g., in one photograph the individual has an abundant head 
of hair and beard while in the other his hair is short and he is clean 
shaven, those places on the photograph on which hair appears must be 
covered up. For this purpose Bertillon has specially cut papers or 
stencils which however are only of use when both photographs are of 
equal size and the position is also identical. The simplest method is as 
follows : — The photograph is placed upon a window and over it a sheet 
of white paper is fixed, upon which is outlined with a pencil the parts 
covered with hair, thus beginning above the forehead where the hair 
starts, thence descending the temple and cheek, then passing above the 
moustache and under the nose and then reascending the other cheek and 
temple to the forehead. This line is then cut with a sharp knife. The 
same is then done with the clean shaven face, i.e., a line is drawn where 
the hair would come if the person was not clean shaven. If the photo- 
graph is gummed to a mount it -must either be steeped in water and 
detached, or else the drawing must be done on tracing paper and 
transferred to ordinary paper. The two sheets having been cut they are 
placed on the photographs and the two compared. If they are of the 
same man the result is astonishing ; the photographs as a whole have 
absolutely no resemblance whereas when the hair on the head and face 
is covered the resemblance is striking. This is only in accordance with 
common experience. Likenesses are usually detected and persons recog- 
nized by the portion comprised between the lower half of the forehead 
and the upper part of the nose, including eyes and eyebrows, i.e., just the 
portion covered by the mask in masked assemblies or balls. 

7. Examination of the photograph with a good magnifying glass is 
also to be recommended; in this way cicatrices, warts, scars, etc., invisible 
to the naked eye may be discovered ; but too much must not be expec- 
ted from a magnifying glass, for a too great enlargement causes the 
unevenness of the paper to appear and thus leads to confusion. 

8. Always strictly observe the principle of never retouching a 
photograph ; professional photographers may be allowed to do this an 
are adepts in the art of flattery, but a judicial photograph must resemble 


the sitter and every retouch spoils this resemblance ; when a retouched 
photograph has been handed to us, the retouching must first of all be 
got rid of. According to Bertillon the best method is to wet a ball of 
cotton wool with turpentine and cautiously rub it over the photograph, 
being careful to dry it immediately. The rationale of this process is not 
quite clear as there are two kinds of retouching ; one is done with a 
pencil on the negative and it is therefore impossible to remove anything 
from the positive ; the other is done indeed on the positive but with 
water colours, which can only be removed with water and not with 
turpentine. There is but one case where retouching may be permitted 
i.e., when the photograph is not made for personal use but for outside 
authorities and when there are faults on the plate causing marks and 
blemishes. Such marks may be mistaken for warts, moles, cicatrices, 
etc., and must therefore be retouched to prevent mistakes. 

9. In comparing photographs the following cases may occur : — 

{a) Comparison of one portrait with another ; 

(6) Of a portrait with an accused ; 

(c ) Of a portrait with a person at liberty ; and 

{d) Of a portrait with a person's recollection of the subject. 
{a) Comparison of one portrait with another. In the rare cases 
where two photographs are of the same size, measurements may be at 
once taken with the compasses. If the hair and beard are in the way 
they should be covered up as shown above, and particular signs (warts, 
cicatrices, etc.,) must be carefully looked for. If none of these signs 
appear on the photographs, the probable date of the photographs must 
be considered and if need be a medical jurist consulted. If the portraits 
are of different sizes they must be enlarged, the smaller more in propor- 
tion than the larger ; and if the colour of the one is totally different to 
that of the other, a new photograph is indispensable. Thus both portraits 
are of the same size. As we have said, only really satisfactory results are 
obtainable by getting rid of everything interfering with the comparison. 

(b) Comparison of a portrait ivith an accused. The precaution 
of clothing and dressing the hair of the accused as he is in the photo- 
graph is never superfluous. In a difficult and important case it will be 
best to photograph him in the same size as the portrait ; it is always 
easier to compare one photograph with another than to compare a 
photograph with a person. 

(c) Comparison of a portrait with a person at liberty. Here we 
have to deal with cases where we have to decide whether a particular 



person we are searching for is living in a certain locality. Let it not be 
forgotten that the persons sent out for this purpose will only succeed 
when they have the portrait firmly impressed on the memory ; if the\ 
meet the suspected individual they cannot first pull the photograph from 
their pocket and refer to it for comparison ; all the features of the 
photograph should be carried in the memory. The person must be made 
to engrave the photograph in his memory feature by feature and we must 
ascertain that he has done so by examining him on the various details ; 
hair, beard, moustache, shape of eyelids, position of the eyes, cheek 
bones, nose, ears, etc. ; even peculiar gestures, manner of bearing, glance, 
etc., must not be overlooked. We assert that no policeman can at first 
answer such questions even though he thinks he has looked at the 
photograph very well. The art of observing must be learnt like every- 
thing else. If the policeman knows his photograph by heart he will in 
most cases recognize, if he meets him, the person he is after. (See the 
Portrait Parle, Chapter VII). 

(d) Comparison of a portrait with our recollection. We generally 
attach importance to this method of recognition only when the witness 
has frequently seen the person he is supposed to recognize. Supposing 
he has seen him only once as, for example, an individual who has cheated, 
robbed, or wounded him and gone oli", the witness's opinion will be of 
little value. His recognition will inspire more confidence when the 
witness is able to pick out the person from a number of similar })hoto- 
graphs, and does not recognize him merely because he had a moustache 
and there is in the collection only one photograph of a person with a 
moustache. But the greatest precautions must be taken, for enormous 
difficulty is always experienced in recognizing persons from photographs, 
especially when the person recognizing is a simple-minded fellow who 
has rarely seen photographs and has never before tried to find resemblan- 
ces. This is clear from the following example : — in nearly all garrison 
towns a photographer is to be found near the barracks who has a supply 
of large pictures (coloured lithographs) representing a dragoon, artillery- 
man, hussar, etc., galloping on horseback and brandishing a sword ; the 
raw recruits flock to the photographer who takes their photograph the 
same size as the ready-made lithograph, cuts out the face and carefully 
gums it upon the face of the hussar or horseguard, and the warrior 
finds himself in possession of his portrait complete on horseback and i: 
colours, which he sends to his amazed relatives. One of these phot 
graphers related to the author how on one occasion he had photographed 



more than a dozen recruits who paid their money and left addresses to 
which the photographs were to be sent when ready ; but unfortunately 
he lost the numbers designating each soldier ; he therefore sent hap- 
hazard a dragoon to each of the addresses indicated ; not a single 
complaint was made although perhaps not one of the fourteen or fifteen 
pairs of old people received the portrait of their ow^n son ; this shows the 
difficulty with which people recognize photographs. 

10. It is appropriate here to call attention to what has been said 
about the distance at which w^e can recognize persons. Dr. Vincent in 
Legrand <(■ Saule'fi " Legal Medicine " lays down that, presuming the 
eyesight to be normal and the light good, one is able in broad day-light 
to recognize : — 

(a) Persons whom one knows very well, at a distance of from 50 
to 90 yards ; w^hen there are particular and very characteristic signs, 110 
yards; in exceptional cases up to 165 yards. 

{b) Persons one does not know very well and has not often seen, 
from 28 to 88 yards. 

(c) People one has only seen once, 16 yards. 
By moonlight one can recognize, when the moon is at the quarter, 
persons at a distance of from 21 feet, in bright moonlight at from 28 to 
33 feet ; and at the very brightest period of the full moon, at a distance 
of from 88 to 86 feet. In tropical countries, as in India, the distances 
for moonlight may be increased. 

These are only approximate indications ; in practice they are of but 
slight value. In the first place the statements concerning good normal 
eyesight and good light are vague and in addition certain supplemental 
circumstances often have decisive influence. The gaseous air of the town 
compared with the limpid atmosphere of the mountains diminishes the 
range of vision by at least ten per cent; the position of the sun, the 
background, the wind, and the temperature also combine to affect it 
to perhaps the same extent ; and our faculty of combination, which 
unconsciously comes into play, may corroborate our perception so that we 
may be completely led into error. If a person at a distance of say 220 
I yards sees a man first come out and then go into the house of A, and 
knows that A lives alone in that house, he will suppose, if the man he 
has seen resembles to a certain extent the exterior aspect of A, that the 
man is indeed A and will maintain the fact, as if he had seen him very 
distinctly. But he has not seen him properly and his perception is 
entirely the result of conclusions which may be false. In such cases 


verification must always in important and serious cases be carried out 
on the spot whereas in less important cases it may be carried out 
elsewhere but under conditions as similar as possible. 

Here again we must not be content with measurements expressed in 
paces or in yards, for the majority of persons do not know what distance 
50 paces really is. 

11. It is important to copy the photograph many times; Bertillon 
asserts that in urgent .cases several thousand copies of a photograph have 
been made in a single night ; it is useless to dwell upon the immense 
value that the rapid propogation of thousands of copies of the photograph 
of a suspected criminal may have. 

12. When it is required to multiply photographs in great numbers 
it must be remembered that it can only be done with the assistance of 
zinc engravings ; it is indeed easy to insert in the columns of any 
newspaper a zinc plate mounted on wood, for an engraving on zinc; 
represents in a way a stamp composed of lines in relief corresponding 
to the lines of drawing. An engraving on zinc may be made from an; 
drawing but not from a photograph, for a photograph only contains tintsJ 
If therefore it is desired to publish in haste in the police and other" 
papers a man's portrait and we possess only his photograph the following 
process must be followed. 

Some one skilled in drawing traces boldly upon the photograph the 
features of the person so that the outlines are clearly visible ; this is a 
matter of a few minutes. The photograph is then decolourised with 
chloride of mercury which leaves only the drawing unattacked. This 
drawing is reproduced by photography upon a plate and engraved on 
zinc and the block thus obtained is inserted in the newspapers. This 
kind of drawing is not beautiful but is often easier to identify than a 
photograph ^^*^\ 

Concerning the modern processes of reproduction invented by Just, 
Harher, and StoIIe, (in Paris, Gelatine-Bromide paper is employed) see 
Eeiss <8i*). 


Section x. — Anthropometry — Bertillon System. 

The Bertillon system of measur'^ment known as "Anthropometry" or 
" Bertillonage " has, since the first edition of this book (1892), come into 
tremendous favour though at first it was, like every new thing, vigorously 
opposed as needless and absurd and was even put down as a complete 


swindle by certain ignorant persons. To-day however the system is in 
full swing and no modern police force thinks of underrating its value. 

There is however one difficulty which people have created for them- 
selves, arising from the many so-called " improvements " which have 
been grafted on to the system. No one can maintain that Bertillon 
perfected his system right away leaving it incapable of improvement, but 
it must be admitted that that gifted investigator avoided everything ab- 
solutely unnecessary and inexpedient. The author has for years pointed 
out that the real value of Bertilloiis system lies in its internationality, 
i.e., in its general applicability to all races. This however can only work 
smoothly when alterations and improvements are as much as possible 
discarded so that the despatch of a row of figures will be sufficient to 
enlighten the police at the other side of the world. It will not then be 
necessary to telegraph Size X, Seat-height Y, Span Z, but merely X,Y,Z. 
If, however, the foot-length for instance is omitted in a description and 
the circumference of the knee is substituted therefor, confusion will result. 
Bertillon in originating the theory was cleverer than all his predecessors 
and he is also cleverer than all his successors. Things should be left as 
he has arranged them and in this way alone will important results be 
obtained. The greatest enemies of a good innovation are those who seek 
to improve it out of existence. 

By "anthropometry " is generally understood the most rational method 
of measuring the dimensions of the human body, in order to establish the 
identity of an individual. We are already dealing with embryonic anthro- 
pometry when we indicate a person's height and his distinctive signs 
(such as extraordinarily large or small hands or feet), also when we 
compare footprints and finger-prints. But the science took a remarkable 
leap forward when M. Alphonse Bertillon of Paris introduced the em- 
ployment of anthropometry into the police department for the recognition 
of old offenders sailing under false colours. In this science the great 
thing to determine (sis— 519) ^g what parts of the body should be measured. 
The reply is : in an adult everything is measured which does not change, 
that is, everything which depends for measurement upon the bone and 
cartilages. The muscular fibres, the fat, and the ganglions alter even 
in a short time ; the bones and cartilages on the contrary preserve their 
dimensions permanently except in very rare cases. The following 
measurements should therefore be taken : — the total height of the body, 
the height of the bust, the sitting height from the chair to the top of 
the head, the distance between the tip of the middle finger of on^ harkd find 


that of the other when the arms are extended horizontally, the lengths 
of the forearm, the foot, the thigh, and the different fingers. Also 
certain diameters of the head, especially the circumference (just above 
the ears) and the depth (from the forehead to the nape of the neck), 
the dimensions of the nose and both ears, the last often showing great 

It goes without saying that special instruments and a certain amount 
of skill are necessary to take these measurements promptly and accu- 
rately ; there must be a special police department, as in Paris, where 
these measurements are taken, docketed, and pigeonholed. Gradually 
such offices will be opened everywhere ; to the Investigating Officer 
their utility is indisputable and their application wellnigh universal. 
But in cases in which Investigating Officers find it necessary to take 
these measurements themselves it must be noted that old measure- 
ments not appertaining to the bones and cartilages are deceptive and 
that the dimensions should always be taken with a rigid square, measure- 
ments with a tape not being admissible ; if therefore we measure the 
height of a man, he must be placed against a wall and a rectangular 
piece of wood placed upon his head, one side of which directly touches 
the wall while the other is held firmly to the top of the head. 

In measuring the length of the foot it is placed on the ground and 
exactly against the heel and the big toe four-sided bodies are placed, e.g., 
a little box, a big book, a brick, etc., the sides of the two rectangular 
bodies which face one another should be parallel and the distance 
between them is measured ; if we were to measure with the tape a false 
measure would be easily obtained, for it is difficult to determine the 
beginning and the end of the measure and moreover the tape often has 
to pass over places which are not straight and not always the same. In 
taking measurements on photographs, they must, to ensure accuracy, be 
considerably enlarged. It is not absolutely necessary for the photographs 
to be of equal size, for in finding out the relative measurements it is easy 
to compare them ; but it is absolutely necessary to make the enlarge- 
ments with the same camera so that the distortions which may possibly 
take place may be the same for both. In taking the measurements it is 
good to commence with the dimensions of the whole face and then pass 
to the various features ; special attention must be paid to the dimension^ 
and details of the ears which are as a rule very characteristic. 

But it rarely happens that the Investigating Officer is himself drivel 
\o tj^e thes^ measurements ; he wilj only have to do so when measure^ 


merits taken by anthropometrical agencies have been communicated to 

him. To give an idea of the method of procedure of these institutions 

we cannot do better than refer to the work of Bertillon, " Appendix to 

Anthropometrical Classification and Identification." In the chapter in 

which the author explains how the photographs in the possession of 

Paris police are utilised, he tells us that the Paris police had in 1893 

about 120,000 photographs of Parisian criminals ; when a criminal is 

arrested the first thing to be done is to find out whether he is an old 

offender; if he is, his photograph will be found in the album of criminals. 

The first step is to ask the gentleman's name, which if he gives correctly 

his photograph is soon found. But if it cannot be found under the name 

given, it must be looked for in the album under another name. It goes 

without saying that it is impossible to verify 120,000 photographs each 

time a Paris criminal is arrested. The process is therefore methodical. 

Firstly the measurements of the individual arrested are taken. Now 

from the 120,000 photographs 80,000 may be subtracted right away as 

being those of persons under 20 years of age. The remaining 90,000 are 

divided into 3 groups and each of these 3 groups is sub-divided into 3 

others and each of these latter into 3 more, and so on. In the first place 

the 90,000 photographs are divided into 3 series of 30,000 each according 

to the length of the head, which is either large, medium, or small. Each 

of these series comprises 3 groups of approximately 10,000, based upon the 

breadth of the head which also may be large, medium, or small, and each 

of these groups is again divided into 3, according to whether the middle 

finger is large, medium, or small, each group containing about 3,333 

photographs. The three different lengths of the foot again divide each 

of these 3 groups into 3 others composing 1,111 photographs, which are 

sub-divided according to the length of the forearm into groups of about 

370 ; these latter are further divided according to the height of the person 

into 3 groups of about 120. 

This last group of 120 is not sub-divided into three as before but 
split up according to the colour of the eyes, the length of the little finger, 
the span of the extended arms, the height of the bust, etc., till we obtain 
groups of about 10 photographs in which we search for our man. 

It goes without saying that fixed measures must be established for 
the various groups ; it must for example be well understood what is 
meant by large, medium, and small length of the foot, so that absolutely 
no ambiguity may arise. 

Let us take an example. The man's head is a mms. in lengt]j ; he 

276 tHE EXt>fiRT 


therefore belongs to the group of 30,000 having medium-sized heads ; 
60,000 photographs are thus eHminated. The breadth of his head is b 
mms; he therefore belongs to the group of 10,000 who have small-sized 
heads. He has a middle finger measuring c mms. in length ; he there- 
fore belongs to the group of about 3,333 who have long middle fingers. 
His foot is d cms. long; he therefore belongs to the group of 1,111 
who possess medium-lengthed feet. His forearm measures e cms. in 
length; he belongs therefore to the group of about 370 who have long 
forearms. His height is /cms. ; he belongs then to 120 short men. His 
brown eyes, the length of his little finger, and the height of the bust, 
determine his position in that group, and finally his portrait may be found 
in a very limited number of specimens. Thanks to this ingenious process 
it is possible to assert with mathematical certainty and in a few minutes 
whether or not the photograph of a particular individual is to be found 
among 120,000 photographs. 

It is easy to understand that the most important and the most 
difficult thing connected with the work is to measure the 120,000 offen-j 
ders^^^\ These measurements are dealt with in Part I. of M. Bertillon's\ 
book; in Part II. he deals with " Descriptive information," " Forehead, 
nose, ear, hair, beard, corpulence, etc."; and in Part HI. with special 
characteristic marks. According to Bertillon at least 5 of these should be 
given, as he maintains that every man has from 8 to 12 marks and 
characteristics. Whoever examines his own body will find at least so 
many. If attention is paid to all of these a much more accurate, trust- 
worthy, and lasting picture will be obtained then the best photograph. 
We give the following facts : — The Paris police identify on an average in 
the course of a year 450 to 460 persons w^ho, but for Anthropometry, 
would remain unrecognised or carry on their malpractices under false 
names. This makes about four cases in every three days. 

Bertillon goes yet a step further and that an important one. With 
the help of what is called the " Portrait Parle " he teaches the police 
how to detect individuals who are at liberty with the greatest certainty 
even when they have much altered in external appearance. For a des- 
cription of this method see Chapter VII., Section i. 

The Bertillon method has now become so important that the idea of 
measuring the whole population over the age of twenty has been broached. 
Not only for criminal cases but for the identification of persons who are 
the victims of crimes, suicides, the insane, and insurance cases, it would 
be v^y valuable ^^^^\ 


Section xi. — Finger-Prints. 

A. Advantages over Anthropometry. 

The adage that however good a thing is it may be bettered, or displaced 
by something better, is very appHcable to the Bertillon method of anthi-o- 
pometrical measurement. Thus it is that the newly revived idea of 
the utilisation of finger-prints for identification purposes threatens to a 
great extent to take the place of anthropometry. With finger-prints 
and anthropometry combined there should be little trouble in identi- 
fying an old offender. But the advantages of finger-prints over the 
Bertillon system have become so well established that it is doubtful 
whether the latter cannot with perfect safety be dispensed with alto- 
gether as unnecessary for purposes of identification. These advantages 
have been well set out in a memorandum published by the Dresden 
Investigation Department : — 

1. Anthropometry. 

1. The instruments are expensive, easy to spoil, and only to be 
obtained from certain suppliers.. 

2. The persons who carry out the measurements must have had a 
special and complete course of instruction. 

3. The measurements of the body can only be taken at appointed 
measuring stations, and by appointed measurers. 

4. If the measurements are not properly taken, or being properly 
taken are wrongly read or transcribed, the mistake cannot be discovered 
at the office where the records are kept and thus all chance of successful 
result is spoilt. 

5. The taking of the measurements demands time, for to be reliable 
they must be repeated three times. 

6. It is necessary for the body to be partly exposed. 

7. The measurements of young people alter as they arrive at maturity. 

8. Double search is often rendered necessary. 

^. Finger-Prints. 

1. The necessary accessories — a piece of tin, a bit of indiarubber, 
and printing-ink, are above all cheap and easy to procure. 

2. Any person can after half-an-hour's practice take clear finger-prints. 

3. The finger-prints can be taken by any policeman at any place. 



4. To check a sequence of recorded finger-prints, the comparison 
of a single impression suffices. 

5. The prints of the whole 10 fingers can be taken very much more 
quickly than body measurements. 

6. It is not necessary for a person to remove his clothes. I| 

7. The pattern of a finger-print never alters during the life of an 

8. Mistakes being impossible, no second search is necessary. 

B. Practical application of Finger-Prints. 


Finger-prints are now in common use for the detection of criminals 
as well as the elucidation of criminal mysteries in nearly all civilised 
countries. They were first generally employed in India under the 
auspices of Mr. Henry of the Bengal Police, now Chief Commissioner of 
the London Police, who has naturally greatly promoted their adoption in 
England. Mr. Joseph Farndale, Chief Constable of Bradford, has also 
taken a leading part in encouraging their practical use in England, and 
most European countries have followed suit. It has been known for a 
long time that the lines on the fingers are different for each person, also 
that in the course of a year they may come together or go further apart, 
but if nothing in the shape of a wound has taken place they do not really 
alter. Welker, the anthropologist, gives the impressions of the palm of 
his hand for the years 1856 and 1897 which fully confirm this. The 
finger-tips of a mummy in the Natural Museum of Vienna show after 
thousands of years clear papillary lines. They can be seen on corpses 
that have lain in water for a week, the lines only disappearing with 
mortification. Even when the tip of a finger is lost, the new tip shows 
the same pattern, though of course transversal wounds disturb this. ^^^^^ 

From the most ancient times the Chinese have used the lines on the 
tips of the fingers of criminals for their identification. Sir William 
Herschel adopted this method in India in doing business with the natives 
instead of their usual signatures ; and in the Indian army finger-prints 
of the soldiers are always taken and preserved ^^^^"^ ; Galton (S23-529) ^^s 
the first to see the advantages of this system and by his careful observa- 
tion and collation of examples brought it into favour as a means of 
recognition of old offenders. 

Classification of finger-prints is not really difficult. With the help 
of a jnagnifying glass the marks are examined in all possible ways and 


carefully noted down. It is seen that a line is broken or divides into 
two separate branches, or two lines come together to form one ridge. 
All points such as these afford excellent means of dividing the various 
classes of finger-prints or identifying with greater certainty two pictures 
of the same finger taken at different times. And here we come to the 

" kernel of the whole question. These remarkable signs which appear 
on the body three months before birth and after death only disappear 
with the final dissolution of the corpse, maintain their formation unaltered 
during the w4iole life-time. Take for example the two pictures of the 
forefinger of Si?' William Herschel, the right hand one dating from 1860 
the other from 1888. Although in the latter the lines are somewhat 
broader and fainter, yet the first glance shows them to be the same and 
closer examination proves that the lines of the 1860 finger-prints are 
exactly the same as those of 1888. Gallon compared at lengthy intervals 
the finger-prints of eight persons and at the first examination he noticed 
296 particular points which he found exactly the same at the second 
examination. There is no possible doubt as to the durability of these 
signs ; the dimensions may alter a little with time, but their character 
remains the same, just as a piece of lace can be twisted in all directions 
without damaging its original pattern ^^^**~^^^\ The accompanying plates 
have been kindly lent to the authors by the Madras Government. They 
were issued with a Government Order upon the utilisation of finger-prints 
in India which contained a considerable amount of information on 

|< the subject. In explanation of the plates the Order stated as follows : — 
''For the information of officers, who may have occasion to examine 
finger-prints with a view to verifying the identity of the individual from 
whose hands they have been taken, it is necessary to premise that the 
impressions recorded form clear and distinct patterns which are constant 
and ineradicable. Each individual's hand presents a separate set of im- 
pressions which a slight scrutiny suffices to distinguish from the finger- 
prints taken from any other hand. Nor do the impressions taken from the 
same hand at different periods of life change with lapse of time except, as 
has been remarked, for alterations "such as would be found in lace, which, 
after being washed and stretched, will show the same pattern and number 
of meshes, although they may be somewhat distorted in shape." There 
ire three main types of pattern, namely, "arches," "loops," and "whorls," 
specimens of which are shown in the accompanying Plate II. 

" The pattern is an " arch " when the ridges in the centre run from 
)n^ side to the other of the bulb without making any backward turij or 



twist ; a " loop " when there is a single backward turn but no twist ; 
and a " whorl " when there is a turn through at least one circle. Loops 
on the fingers may further be distinguished as either inner loops when 
they open towards the thumb side, or outer loops towards the little finger 
{Flates II. and III.). 

"In the police department, it is customary for the purposes of classi- 
fying the finger-prints recorded in numerous cases to assign a separate 
descriptive formula to each pair of hands, and the manner in which this 
is done is explained at length in rules 11 to 13 of the revised edition of 
the departmental manual entitled " Anthropometry as applied to the 
identification of criminals." For the purposes of the present rules it 
will, however, ordinarily suffice to examine each finger-print either by 
the naked eye or with the aid of a magnifying glass in order to ascertain 
if in each case the distinctive pattern corresponds with that noticeable in 
the impression previously recorded. Thus, supposing Plate III. (lef 
hand) to represent the permanent record, it would be necessary to ex- 
amine the new set of impressions in order to make certain that th 
pattern of the fourth or little finger was a loop, that of the third finge 
a whorl, and so on. A variation in any one case would be sufficient to 
leave no doubt that false personation was being attempted. Should the 
general patterns correspond, a closer examination may, if thought neces- 
sary, be made (either with or without a magnifying glass) in order to 
ascertain whether each line in a particular impression coincides in 
appearance with the corresponding line in the finger-print forming the 
permanent record. 

" To further illustrate these rules. Plates IV. to VI. appended have 
been prepared in the office of the Inspector-General of Police. Plate IV. 
exhibits impressions of the thumb and fingers of the right hand taken 
with an interval of 2^ years. Plate V. represents the corresponding 
impressions of the first and second fingers enlarged. Plate VI. is a 
skeleton chart of Plate V. and shows the axes of the ridges with the 
points of reference numbered." 

Windt divides finger-prints into four main types of pattern which he 
calls "loops," "arches," "whorls" and "composites." This is also the 
classification adopted in England. To these arithmetical and algebraical 
values can be given so that 1024 combinations can be made therefrom. 
These are the bases of a very learned system introduced by F. K. King of 

But not only are finger-prints of importance for identifying and 
















26-11-95 & 3l-vii-97 with axes of ridges 



Showing the axes of the riages yf\ih points of reference numbered 

1st Fioger <sl Finger 


2nd Fioger* 

2L6-U.95 2nd Finger. 



• C 

O »-i 

o ^ 










• I— I 









Beer bottle. 





• r-H 





• 1—1 




classifying old offenders but they are also of great value from another 
point of view, namely, the actual elucidation of particular crimes. It 
is to Mr. Joseph Farndale that elaboration of this branch of finger- 
prints is largely due, though as already mentioned, Mr. E. B. Henry, 
Chief of the London Police, first brought the subject to the front in 
England and the standard work on the subject is written by him, namely, 
''The Uses and Classification of Finger-prints." It is now estabhshed 
that in the detection of crimes too great value cannot be placed upon 
finger-prints as the following cases cited by Mr. G. E. Mallett {Strand 
Magazine, May, 1905) will show. 

The first case was in the early part of the year 1905. An office in the 
chief street of the city of Bradford was entered by means of breaking a 
glass panel in the door, and money and stamps were stolen. In pulling 
out the glass from the door the thief left a finger-print on the glass, which 
was brought away, photographed, and enlarged. Suspicion fell on a 
person whose finger-prints had previously been taken and on the file 
being searched his left thumb was found to be identical with the impres- 
sion on the glass. 

In another case several burglaries had been committed in the district. 
The property stolen was of a kind which could not be readily identified — 
chiefly cash. After several of these robberies had passed undetected, 
there came at length an instance where a small polished wood box, used 
to contain homoeopathic medicines, had been removed from its customary 
position. In consequence this box was carefully examined, and the lid 
was found to bear a finger impression, which was photographed. A 
person was suspected of the offence who had previously been in custody, 
and it was natural, of course, at once to proceed to enlarge the finger 
impression on the medicine box and compare it with the registered impres- 
sion. When it was found ' that the impression on the box was identical 
with that of the suspected person, orders were issued for his arrest. A 
number of incriminating circumstances appearing against him, he was 

In a case, in September 1904, a beer-bottle played an important part. 
Cash was stolen from a club in Bradford. The thief got in through a 
window, and had helped himself to a bottle of beer. The finger-print on 
the bottle was very obscure indeed, but after being chemically treated, 
photographed, and enlarged, it came out clear enough for the purposes of 
identification. Suspicion fell on a sailor who had been observed by the 
police in the district. Circumstances led to his arrest and he failed to 





account for some money. He was remanded and his finger-prints were 
taken. His right middle finger corresponded exactly with the impression 
on the beer-bottle. In passing it should be noted with regard to this case 
that without the finger-print it would have been impossible to obtain a 
conviction. (See Plates VIII. d- IX.) 

The next case is not without its humorous element. Two men were 
found in possession of a quantity of stolen property. They were arrested 
on suspicion. Their explanation was that the property had been given to 
them by a man unknown to carry away. Inquiry was made, and it was 
found that the articles had been taken from the house of a minister who 
was away on his holidays. The thieves had got into the minister's 
residence by removing the slates over the bathroom. After getting 
through the ceiling of the bathroom they let themselves down on to the 
floor below by means of the bathroom door, which stood open. In doing 
so some finger-print impressions were left on the top of the door. One 
impression was a very plain one. The bathroom door was taken bodily 
but very carefully from its post. The door (seven feet high) was treated 
with the utmost respect, and, protected by paper, was conveyed on a 
cart to the town-hall, where it was carried up to the detective studio and 

The last case cited by Mr. Mallett is perhaps the most remarkable of 
all. It was reported to the police on a Sunday that the premises of a 
well-known bowling-green club in Bradford had been entered on the 
Saturday night, and some five hundred bottles of whisky and other liquor 
had been carried away to an adjacent wood. The customary careful 
examination of the premises showed that the thieves had been helping 
themselves to whisky. Apparently only one vessel had been used — a 
small tumbler of thin glass. On this there was a finger-print, very 
faintly discernible. The finger-print was chemically treated, photogra- 
phed, and enlarged. Considering that the impression was upon glass, it 
was wonderful how clearly the ridges of the finger were eventually repro- 
duced. The impression was evidently of the '' whorl " type. There was 
no clue of any kind in this case, but on looking at the register the impres- 
sion of the finger of a man was found who had been remanded some time 
previously for another offence, but had been discharged. In this case th 
man whose finger-print was on the glass was at once arrested, and whe 
he was charged with the robbery confessed to being guilty ; and he gave i 
formation to the police which enabled them both to arrest another ma: 
implicated and to recover part of the stolen property. (See Plates X. dc XI 


One of the most remarkable mm-der cases of modern times was the 
trial of the brothers Stratton accused of a crime which took place on the 
27th of March 1905 and became known as the ''mask mm*ders". An old 
man and his wife were brutally murdered one night in their shop and 
their cash box rifled. All that was left behind by the burglars were three 
masks very roughly made from the tops of stockings and a finger-print 
on the tray of the cash box. This was the first time finger-print evi- 
dence was ever submitted in an English murder trial and the criticism 
with which it was received is interesting. Enlargements of the photo- 
graphs taken of the finger-prints found on the cash box and Alfred 
Stratton's right thumb were produced by the Police Inspector, while copies 
and magnifyng glasses were handed to the jury to enable them to follow 
the parallel characteristics of identity that the officer pointed out on 
a large chart which he held up. He asserted that he could find no 
characteristic visible in the print on the cash box which did not agree 
with Alfred Stratton's thumb. In cross-examination the Inspector said 
" That in points, which he could not agree with counsel were discre- 
pancies, the pressure applied by the digit would play a large part. It 
was only a mark of perspiration and dust on the cash box, and a mark 
made on evenly distributed ink in the other. Pressure would give a 
curved line in the one, and lack of pressure a straight line in the other. " 

It was pointed out to the Inspector by the aid of the compasses that 
the distances between certain points of identity relied on by the witness 
varied as much as the twelfth of an inch on the cash box print and Alfred's 
thumb print. The Inspector explained this by saying that the two enlarge- 
ments were on a slightly different scale, and he added that as they were 
thirteen times the natural size the difference of one-twelfth of an inch 
would have to be divided by 13, and so would be infinitesimal in the ori- 
ginal prints. Finger-prints of the dead couple and of all who were in the 
habit of being in the house were also presented to the jury to show that 
the finger-print gn the tray of the cash box could not possibly be theirs. 
The Judge in summing up said that, as to the finger-print identification, 
where the prints were taken for the purpose of identification of a criminal 
whose impressions the police already possessed, the system seemed to be 
"extremely reHable." But it was a different thing to apply the system 
to a casual mark made by the perspiration of the thumb on an object. 
You could not expect that it would correspond with the same degree of 
accuracy. It would be blurred and the other taken from the suspect 
would be clear. So it was in this case. 



"Consequently, " the Judge continued, "this is not so satisfactory as 
it would have been if you could suppose the murderer had a pot of ink 
and made a definite impression. But there is one thing that is clear 
about this. If it is true that people's fingers do vary so much as has 
been described there is an extraordinary amount of resemblance in the 
two photos and to a certain extent it is corroborative evidence. None of 
you, I should think, would Hke to act on this alone. The point is not 
whether you will go on this alone, but the point is whether it is not sub- 
stantial evidence corroborating the other statements that Alfred Stratton 
must have been one of the men on the scene of the murder." 

Both prisoners were convicted, sentenced to death, and executed. 

The law as to the Judicial use of finger impressions in India is 
contained in The Evidence Act, see 73, (as amended by Act V. of 1899). 
Thus amended the section ¥eads ; "In order to ascertain whether a 
finger impression is that of the person by whom it purports to have been 
made, any finger impression admitted or proved to the satisfaction of the 
Court to have been made by that person may be compared with the one 
which is to be proved, although that finger impression has not been 
produced or proved for any other purpose. The Court may direct the 
finger impression of any person present in Court to be taken for the 
purpose of enabling the Court to compare the finger impressions so taken 
with any finger impression alleged to have been made by such person. " 

It is clear two questions arise ; (1) What does identity of impression 
prove ? Here the expert gives unimpeachable evidence that identity of 
impression means identity of person. (2) Does such identity exist? 
Here the expert can do no more than point out the grounds on which his 
opinion, as to identity or non-identity, is based, leaving the Jury or the 
Magistrate to draw his own conclusions from this, as from any other 

The point is best illustrated by an example ; we accordingly quote the 
relevant portions of an appeal heard in the Calcutta High Court (24th 
March 1905), see I.L.K., 32 Calcutta, p. 759. 

" The accused, Abdul Hamid, was alleged to have falsely personated 
one Moshrof AH, and in such assumed character to have admitted the 
execution of a bond purporting to have been made in favour of one G uron 
Ali, his cousin's husband, and to have presented the same for registration 
on the 5th November 1902 before the Sub-Kegistrar of Adhunagar. It 
appeared that on the 11th instant, the real Moshrof Ali went to the 
Sub-Begistrar, and lodged a written complaint before him that some 


person, not named, had falsely personated him and got the said bond 
registered, upon which an inquiry was held resulting in criminal pro- 
ceedings being instituted against the accused and certain others 

" During the trial one Mahomed Amin, a Sub-Inspector in the Crim- 
inal Investigation Department of the Inspector-General of Police, was 
examined as an expert on finger prints, and he deposed that the thumb 
impressions on the forged bond and in the Sub-Kegistrar's thumb register 
corresponded with the thumb impression of the accused taken before the 
Magistrate, but not with that of Moshrof Ali. 

" The Jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty, whereupon 
the Judge put to them the following question : — 

'' Q. Do you find that the thumb impressions Exhibit I. id) — on the 
bond — is not the impression of the accused ? 

''A. We are not ready to accept the evidence of the expert as 

conclusive. We do not think he is properly qualified to give an opinion. 

" The Judge, disagreeing with the Jury, referred the case to the 

High Court under Section 807 of the Criminal Procedure Code on the 

ground that their verdict was perverse. " 

In the course of their judgments the following remarks were made by 
the Judges. 

" Henderson, J. The only other evidence which reference may be made 

is that of Mahomed Amin, a special Sub-Inspector on Rs. 80 a month 

in the Criminal Investigation Department, who was brought down from 
Calcutta to give evidence as an expert as to the correspondence between 
the thumb impressions of the accused with those on the bond and in the 
thumb iiijpression register kept at the Registry Office. He said that he 
had studied finger impressions for five months in a training school and 
18 months in the Office of the Inspector-General of Police, and that he 
had examined two or three lakhs of impressions and had himself taken 
thousands of impressions. He was of opinion, apparently without any 
reservation, that the thumb impressions made in Court by the accused 
corresponded with those made by the person, who presented the bond, on 
the bond itself and in the thumb register. He gave his reasons for his 
opinion, stating the various points of similarity, and his opinion is, there- 
fore, entitled to be treated with very great consideration. I have myself 
subjected the impressions to a careful study both with the naked eye and 
a magnifying glass. The impressions are unfortunately blurred and 
many of the characteristic marks are, therefore, far from clear. This 
renders it difficult to trace the marks enumerated by the expert witness 



as demonstrating the correspondence between the two sets of impres- 
sions. I am unable to say more than that in some respects a distinct 
similarity can be traced. Under these circumstances, I should hesitate 
to say that the Jury were wrong in not accepting the evidence of the 
expert, more especially when the evidence to corroborate his testimony 

was of such an unreliable character 

*' Geidt, J. The Sessions Judge, however, is of opinion that the 
evidence of the Sub-Inspector from the Inspector-General's Criminal 
Investigation Department is quite sufficient to fasten the personation on 
the accused. The Sub-Inspector took an impression of the accused's 
thumb before the Committing Magistrate (it is marked Exhibit 4), and 
professing himself an expert he declares that this impression is made by 
the same person as the impressions, marked Exhibit 1 (d) and Exhibit 2, 
made on the document and the register. If this evidence be accepted, it 
would corroborate the testimony of Kabel Krishna, and put it beyond 
reasonable doubt that it was the accused who presented the document 
and admitted its execution. The Jury have, however, declined to regard 
the Sub-Inspector as an expert, and to act on his opinion, and it is neces- 
sary for us to consider whether they were wrong in so doing. Now 
though the classification of finger impressions is a science requiring 
study, and though it may require an expert in the first instance to say 
whether any two finger impressions are identical, yet the reasons which 
guide him to this conclusion are such as may be weighed by any intelli- 
gent person with good powers of eyesight. In the present case the 
Sub-Inspector has enumerated nine different marks by which he has come 
to the conclusion that Exhibit 4 is the impression of the same thumb 
as Exhibits 1 {d) and 2. I have examined these impressions for myself 
with the aid of a magnifying glass, and endeavoured to test the Sub- 
Inspector's reasons. His first reason is that the pattern in the two sets 
of impressions is the same, and his fifth is that the central core or ridge 
is the same. These reasons can readily be verified by a comparison of the 
impressions, but they do not carry us very far, for it is obvious they may 
co-exist in the thumb impressions of many different persons. With these 
two exceptions I have been unable to identify the marks enumerated by 
the witness as existing in the two sets. Eor instance, the Sub-Inspector's 
second reason is that the number of ridges between the right delta and 
the inner terminus is the same. The Sub-Inspector has not mention 
the number of ridges thus indicated, and they are so blurred and r 
together, that I am unable to count them for myself. 



*' The Sub-Inspector's third reason is as follows : 

" The fifth ridge below the right. delta ends abruptly, also the seventh 
ridge ends at the same point as the fifth ridge, the third ridge bores a 
little way and then stops. 

'' I am able to follow these features in Exhibit 4, but cannot distin- 
guish them in Exhibit 1 (d) or in Exhibit 2. I need not go in detail through 
the other distinguishing marks : it is sufticient to say that, though I 
can often perceive them in one impression (generally Exhibit 4, in which 
the ridges stand out the clearest) , I am unable to say that they exist in the 
other impressions. 

" The Sub-Inspector is a person who failed for his B.A. Examination, 
and has been only a little more than a year in the Police. Considering 
the difficulty I have in perceiving the marks which lead him to say that 
the impression marked Exhibit 4 is made by the same person as Exhibits 
1 {d) and 2, I cannot say that the Jury were wrong in declining to regard 
him as an expert, whose opinion they were bound to accept without the 
corroboration of their own intelligence as to the reasons which guided him 
to his conclusion. 

'' In making these observations I desire to throw^ no doubt on the 
science of finger impressions, or on the validity of the conclusions which 
may be established from a similarity in their marks. But in the present 
case I am of opinion that the similarity of the two sets of finger im- 
pressions lias not been established ; and as the remaining evidence is far 
from cogent, I would refuse to disturb the verdict of the Jury. " 

C. The manner of recording Finger-prints. 

The examination of finger-prints is no easy matter. It is therefore 
above all necessary that good and true impressions should be taken which 
can be kept and compared with others. To make true and sharp copies 
containing no gaps Galton gives two methods. Firstly, a sheet of glass 
or a metal plate may be covered with lamp-black and a finger-print made 
thereon. At all parts touched by the elevations of the skin the lamp- 
black comes off.. The second method is the one now generally adopted. 
The finger is placed on a metal, glass, or porcelain plate on which black 
printer's ink has been spread as smoothly as possible and the impression 
is then taken on a piece of paper. The ink adheres to the elevations of 
the skin which are thus reproduced on the paper. The difference between 
the two methods is that in the first it is the hollows in the finofer which 



are reproduced, whereas in the second it is the elevations ; thus in a ■ 
manner resembHng the negative and positive of photography. The 
latter method is certainly the best and easiest. 

The following are the rules laid down by the Indian Government for 
the taking of finger-prints : — 

" The apparatus required for taking impressions consists of the 
following articles : — 

'' A sheet of tin or copper 10 J inches by 7, or of such other size as 
experience may show to be most convenient, screwed down by its corners 
to a board one inch thick ; an ordinary printer's roller and a tin of 
printer's ink. Both roller and slab must be thoroughly cleansed with 
kerosine-oil on each occasion after use, dried with a rag and put out of 
the way of dust. 

" The manner in which impressions should be taken is explained 
below : — 

" (i) Squeeze a drop of ink on the plate and work it with the roller 
till it forms an even laj^er over the surface. The ink must be so thin as 
to allow the color of the plate to show through it. 

" (ii) Then take the little finger of the left hand, roll the bulb 
slightly on the inked slab and roll it again on the paper in the space 
marked for that finger ; do the same with each of the other fingers and 
thumb in succession so that the imprints of them may be taken in their 
allotted places on the paper. 

"Note. — A drop or two of kerosine-oil added to the ink makes it more fluid. 
The inked finger should only be rolled once on the card from one side to the 
other and then removed cleanly witliout smudging the pattern. To afford 
clear scope for identification, the whole of the finger (or thumb) between the 
tip and first joint must be impressed." 

Section xii. — Geometrical Identification. ^^|^^ 

W. Mathews ^^^^Brifish Journal Almanac, 1890, p. 412) makes an 
ingenious proposal ^^^ ; according to him photographs may establish the 
identities of persons with absolute certainty even after the lapse of a 
number of years since the time when the last photographs were taken. 
His system is based on the no doubt accurate idea that certain dimensions 
of the face of an adult human being do not change, if, at all events, ther 
have been no illnesses or injuries to the skull in the meantime. 

The photographs to be compared are first very greatly enlarged an 
in the same proportions. The greater the enlargement, that is to say, 




the larger the photographs to be compared are, the more decisive will be 
the proof ; for the errors of measurement which may be committed will 
be of less importance. 

T) tt c 

Fig. 9. 

Next a fundamental line {Fig. 9) is drawn through the pupils of the 
eyes ; the distance separating the middle of the two pupils is divided into 
two equal parts ; through this dividing point a perpendicular a a is drawn, 
and two parallels are drawn thereto through the pupils (bbdcc). Finally 
parallels are drawn to the fundamental line o o above and below that line 
as far as the chin and the roots of the hair ; these parallels are numbered 
1, 2, 3, etc. The distance between the horizontal lines is exactly the 
same as the diameter of the iris, that is to say, of the pupil of the eye on 
the picture. 

The verification of identity may be done in two ways :— 

1. The two portraits are cut into two pieces along the line a a and 
the halves of each are interchanged. If the portraits are of the same 
person all the other lines will fit. 

2. The two portraits (unmounted) are placed one upon the other, so 
that the lines oo and a a coincide. If the portraits are identical the other 
lines will also coincide. 

This method is to be recommended in important cases. 




It is natural for the Investigating Officer to find it impossible to 
escape from the influence of the great power wielded by the Public Press ; 
we have therefore to discuss the position he ought to take up as regards 
that influence and in what way it may be of service to him. 

The connection between the Investigating Officer and the Press is 
based upon a community of interest ; the Investigating Officer is inter- 
ested in crime and everything connected with it and the daily Press is 
interested in great measure in the same questions. An experienced 
journalist who had accurate information of what the public preferred 
to read in its daily paper, once furnished the following list in which the 
heads are arranged in order of importance : — 

1. Births, deaths, marriage, and divorce. 

2. The reports of crime and criminal trials. 

3. Local news. 

f The serial story. 
4.-^ The theatrical news. 
[The short story. 

C Special telegrams. 
5.-1 Political communications. 
L Leading Articles. 

6. Scientific notes, and reviews. 
From this list it may be seen how much people are interested in com- 
munications relating to crime, and as the interest of the public is the 
interest of the journalist, the place of honour is given to these communi- 
cations. The experienced and expert journalist would rather give up 
every other article in his paper than the first report of a criminal case. 
And this is where he finds himself in conflict with the law, for in all 
civilised States the precipitate divulgence of details connected with judi- 
cial cases is considered to be more or less illegal. True it is that there 
are few laws more often broken than those of which we speak : every-day 
we read in the paper exact descriptions of crimes which have just been 
committed, especially when these crimes are particularly outrageous and , 
horrible. How much truth can be found in such reports is another^B 
(question ; more than one of us have been unable to help saying to 


ourselves on reading these newspapers reports, — "I seem to have heard 
of a case Hke that " ; so much had the case brought to the notice of 
the Investigating Officer on the previous day been disfigured. 

It is easy to understand how^ this comes about v^hen we observe the 
manner in w^hich the news given by the paper is fabricated ; the Investi- 
gating Officer and his assistants have sworn to guard their professional 
secrets, and in every crime the manner in which it has been committed 
is considered to be relevant to the matters to be embraced by this 
professional reticence. In consequence of this the Investigating Officer 
and his auxiliaries wrap themselves in the impenetrable mantle of secrecy, 
and tell the journalist nothing ; the reporters therefore fall upon the 
watchmen, the witnesses, and their relations, upon the jailors of the 
prison, upon the cabman who has driven the Investigating Officer to the. 
scene of the crime, upon the people of the house, and upon other persons 
who have or may have some knowledge of the matter, — and then 
compose their narrative, a narrative said to be " worthy of all belief." 
We may cite the case of a reporter who with particular cunning had 
entered into the closest relations with the house-maid of the Investigating 
Officer, in order to learn from her what her master related to his wife at 
table with reference to interesting cases. In this way are those horrible 
descriptions which overflow our newspapers fabricated, of which " we 
legal gentlemen " take no notice, saying : — " these newspaper reports are 
all quite indifferent to us." 

But they are not in reality so indifferent, and, if regarded more closely, 
we must be convinced that these inaccurate reports do harm ; in the first 
place falsehood in itself is evil and for that reason alone ought not to be 
tolerated. The importance and power of the press are far too great not 
to pursuade us that it causes an immense amount of prejudice by furnish- 
ing continually, as it does, inaccurate statements of facts. 

We must moreover consider the influence which the report may exer- 
cise upon all those persons who have something to do with the case, be 
it intimately or remotely. Whoever has seen or heard something of the 
case in question " takes a particular interest in it. Every such man 
gives himself an absolutely excessive importance, and whenever an 
individual's eyes fall by chance upon a list of names among which he 
finds his own, and his attention is, as we are sure it will, be first drawn by 
Jhat name, he will become particularly interested in the case, for he "has 
iaken some part in it"; he reads minutely everything connected with it 
Hid everything which he knows better than any one else. But, if he has 


some real knowledge of a case he will be called as a witness and 

longer able to depose with an unbiased mind since he has read inaccurate 


Not only the man in the street but Investigating Officers themselves 
have a certain confidence in everything in print and allow themselves in 
spite of many disillusions to be influenced by newspaper articles; "there 
must be some truth in it " one thinks, and if one reads several times over 
the account of the case otherwise than as one has seen it oneself, one 
ends by doubting oneself, and, in spite of the best will to speak the truth, 
one gives an account of the case different to what one would have given 
if not under exterior influence. 

Newspaper reports, moreover, induce the public to form a definite 
opinion upon the case itself and upon the culpability of the author of the 
crime, so that the verdict is often pronounced by the public long before 
the competent authorities have delivered their judgment. The official 
verdict, once given, is no longer in agreement with public opinion, which 
latter was based on erroneous information ; moreover the public does not 
change its opinion, even in view of the light which is shed during the 
hearing of the case ; the decision of the authorities is criticised ; and it is 
not necessary to set out the bad effect of everything which is calculated 
to disturb the confidence which ought to be placed in the Powers That 
Be. This tendency of the press has in quite recent times, and parti- 
cularly in London and New York, attained the dimensions of a public 
scandal. Trial and conviction by the half-penny journal has more terrors 
to the criminal than the Old Bailey itself. The only thing that restrains 
these journals is the fear of proceedings for contempt of court or actions, 
civil or criminal, for defamation. In India no such check is, as yet, 
recognised ; for, putting aside the half-score or so of leading papers, there 
is hardly an issue of a journal in India that would not in England lead 
the Editor and Publisher promptly to the bar of the Courts. 

The only means of remedying this evil is to allow the Investigating 
Officer to himself communicate the essential matters concerning criminal 
cases to the newspaper ; the latter on its part would be compelled to 
keep silent upon all the other details of the case. There seems to b 
an air of censure about this, but in reality it is not so bad as that. I 
the first place we do not mean that the question should be regulate 
by law, for we imagine that it will be generally very easy to come to an 
agreement upon this subject with the reporters of the local paper even in 
a large town. The Investigating Officer would provide the reporters 




with the news in question while the latter would engage only to print the 
communications of the former, and to insert on their part everything 
which the Investigating Officer desires to make public. 

The tact of the Investigating Officer will guide him in ivhat should 
be printed in a given case, and how and wJien it should be published. 

We do not desire by any means to advise the Investigating Officer to 
give the papers inaccurate information in order to baffle the unknown 
criminal or inspire his accomplices with confidence, etc. But it is not 
necessary to tell all that one knows or all that one suspects, or, if one 
wishes to tell it, the propitious moment must be awaited. The manner 
in which what may be told should be told is not, speaking generally, easy 
to indicate ; and it is not even easy to express it in a particular case ; but 
it is possible to find the correct method by taking into account all the 
circumstances accompanying the crime. The best way to proceed will 
be for the Investigating Officer to himself write out the note for the 
paper without long hesitation or reflection ; and then consider the conse- 


quences which it will have from the point of view of the author of the 
crime in the event of his reading it, the same applying to the accomplices, 
witnesses, etc., if they come to know of it ; at the moment when the note 
is drawn up the general turn of the case will be fairly well known and 
after a little reflection the effects of the note will also be guessed. 

More than one success in important criminal cases may be traced 
entirely to the use that has been made of a newspaper, but on the other 
hand, it is also certain that one is exposed to very great dangers when an 
awkward use is made of the press. Here is an example of this: in a 
case of murder accompanied, by theft, it had been possible owing to 
a series of fortuitous circumstances to describe very accurately, imme- 
diately after the crime, a number of the articles stolen, although the 
murdered person lived all alone and had no dealings with the world. It 
was supposed that the author of the crime, then still unknown, was well 
aware of this peculiarity of the woman in question, and would not fear 
to sell the stolen articles at the earliest possible moment. In order to 
rapidly inform the pawnshops, the Investigating Officer resolved to 
publish at once the description of such of the stolen articles as were 
accurately known ; and succeeded in doing so in the evening papers, 
although the murder had only been committed on the morning of the 
same day. But this publication had a contrary result to what had been 
anticipated, for the author of the crime had, extraordinarily enough, got 
rid of no article that morning and it came out later on that it was only 


in the evening, after the papers had appeared, that he sold such of the 
stolen articles as had not been described in the evening papers. In this 
case it would have been much better to have kept back the description. 

On the other hand those mysterious airs so often affected by the 
authorities are quite ridiculous and often harmful. One will be doing 
the right thing if one takes into account the consequences which the 
divulgence of information may have. If there is no adequate reason to 
suppose that this divulgence will have bad consequences there need be no 
hesitation in speaking out. 

But special care must be taken that the information published is 
accurate. The following cited case shows this. It is also an interesting 
example of the value of unprofessional expert advice {Chap. V. Seci). 
Quite recently in London a lady committed suicide by poisoning in a West- 
End Hotel. The ''Morning Leader'' in its report says: — "She took the 
greatest care to destroy every possible trace of her identity, even to buying 
new clothes and underclothes which bore no apparent mark of any kind. 
But she missed one little detail — the red thread figuring on her dressing- 
jacket. This mark was given out at the inquest as a laundry mark : 


"Those letters have been published far and wide — in England, France, 
Germany, and in America. Hundreds of laundry-keepers have been 
interrogated, with EUXAOZ as a clue to work upon. After a lapse of 
days, the President of the Laundry Association has come forward and 
has proved, after his expert examination, that with the exception of the 
E, these supposed letters are numbers stitched in angles. He, therefore, 
reads the inscription thus : 

E. 48,992. W 

" There is a possibility that the last figure may be an — but, in his 
experienced eye, the others are plain. He is convinced that they do not 
form a laundry mark, because laundry people never use so many figures. 
He thinks that the mark is a dyer's and cleaner's mark. Thus, says he, 
it is certain that this row of figures has been entered, as a reference, in 
the books of some dyer and cleaner's firm ; and it is possible that th 
name and address of the owner of that jacket may be entered alongside.' 

When the Investigating Officer succeeds in obtaining the good-will o 
the reporters he can in return for his complacency expect many kindnesse 
when dark days arrive. The Investigating Officer often finds it neces 


sary to have official notes published ; but official advertisements have this 
peculiarity that no one reads them, especially those persons whom they 
most concern ; but if these publications are inserted among the general 
news of the day they are read with avidity and their object is attained. 
The discovery of witnesses and of the owners of the various articles, 
questions concerning such a state of affairs or such an event, invitations 
to come and inspect certain articles in the possession of the Investigating 
Officer, the search for people who have disappeared, and a thousand other 
similar communications which would fill up without result the Police 
gazettes and papers, would have some chance of success, if they appeared 
in the public press under the head of ''actualities." When important 
matters are in question a few words may be added to the note requesting 
other papers to notice it in their columns. 

In such cases the press is for the most part quite ready to assist 
justice, especially the more important and better class of paper. On one 
occasion, for example, persons a long way off were placed in a position 
to give information in a case about which a note had appeared in a small 
country paper ; this note found its way into the principal papers of the 
capital, and finally, even American papers, which had reproduced it, were 
received. Some of them indeed had added a few words to the note 
embodying the assurance that they had been happy to be able to serve a 
good cause. And, what is more important from a fiscal point of view, all 
this costs the State absolutely nothing. 

But in order for the Investigating Officer to be able to make use of 
the press, he must not only hold the journalists in hand and proceed 
with tact, but he must also be allowed complete and entire liberty by the 
authorities. The latter ought to know whence these notes originate and 
that the Investigating Officer is conducting the case as it ought to be 
conducted, and not come down upon the paper some fine day for the 
premature divulgence of secrets which are considered to be harmful to 
the investigation. 



In this chapter we shall deal with some of the smart tricks and 
dodges employed by rogues and criminals. The Investigating Officer 
who endeavours to learn and keep count of these will obtain the know- 
ledge of a great number of facts, will know in what direction and in what 
manner he must commence and continue his investigations, and will be 
able, more or less, to form an idea of the personality of the individual 
under observation. Among modern specialists, F. Ch. B. Ave-Lallemant, 
in his work, Bas Deutsche Gaunerthum ("^he practices of German 
rogues ") gives the most accurate information on this subject. Although 
somewhat out of date in certain parts his book has furnished us with much 
valuable information, to which has been added our own observations, 
collected from special works, from private communications, and from 
personal experience. 

Section i. — Disguising the face. 

Criminals have constantly recourse to disguises. With what clever- 
ness and persistency they keep on disguising themselves, and yet it is 
not superfluous to urge attention to the matter ; for indeed there is 
nothing which malefactors will not try to simulate, nothing they will not 
try to dissimulate. Frequently the medical man alone can decide whether 
or not there be dissimulation, and it will be the business of the Investi- 
gating Officer to place no faith in pretended infirmities and maladies, 
and to call in regularly the advice of the medical man. 

But here again there are numerous cases where it is impossible to 
fall back upon the medical man ; it may be the nature of the affair 
excludes medical assistance or, it may be, an important decision must 
be come to before being able to call in the aid of the physician. We 
may therefore mention some of the disguises which a criminal assumes 


for the purpose of altering his appearance from the description given 
in the warrant of arrest. As a general rule it may he laid doivn that 
a novice commits a crime and afterioards disguises himself ; while the 
expert criminal disguises himself before the commission of the offence. 
The former thei'efore tries to escape in disguise ; the latter, on the con- 
trary, in his natural appearance, and consequently he finds himself much 
more favourably situated than the former. If the criminal be captured 
or even placed under observation, the disguise is easily detected and 
the individual is generally quickly convicted of having committed the 

Suppose then that a novice at the game commits a piece of roguery ; 
he has no beard and wears his hair cut short ; he is pursued on this 
description but travels disguised in a red beard and a long-haired wig. 
This disguise will be quickly detected and he will be compelled to dispense 
with it. The expert scoundrel does exactly the opposite : when commit- 
ting the fraud he dons the red beard and the long-haired perruque ; he is 
so described in the warrant ; he is pursued ; but immediately after the 
offence, he throws away his beard and wig and the most minute search 
can no longer discover him. 

When a warrant of arrest, containing a description of the " man 
wanted, " is studied, a certain point of view must be assumed ; everything 
which appears unnatural should be considered as suspicious and unau- 
thentic ; it matters little whether this unnatural appearance be artificial, 
designed only to disguise the individual, or whether it be genuine. In 
both cases, the fugitive will get rid of it if he can. If, for example, the 
warrant says — " an unkempt black beard " — either it was false, or it has 
been shaved off after the crime and before the flight : if it is said — " he 
wears blue spectacles " — either they have been put on specially for the 
crime and then removed, or the criminal is really in the habit of wearing 
blue spectacles and has got rid of them during his flight, however accus- 
tomed he may be to wear them. Even special signs incorporated, so to 
speak, with his person will not be of much value. Thus the criminal 
may, at the moment of the offence, assume a very high-toned or falsetto 
voice ; or if the timbre of his voice is naturally high he will pretend, 
often with great difficulty, to possess a deep-toned bass voice. He will 
also thus disguise his walk, carriage, mannerisms, costume, even his 

For instance, a swindler had managed to cash with a banker a 
ninnber of false coupons most cleverly forged ; but the description the 

iLfe " 


banker gave of the man, which was immediately published, was not true 
in a single particular ; the beard, the spectacles, the hair, the dress, the 
voice, the corpulence, the height, all were false. The strangest part was 
that the man was described as being below middle height, although he 
was notably tall. As a matter of fact, on his visit he wore a long great- 
coat ; the banker's desk, about the height of an ordinary bank counter, 
was boarded up in front, hence the man could easily cover the short 
distance detween the door and the desk and back again with his knees 
bent ; thus in the bank he produced the impression of a short man. 

Swindlers also pretend to special characteristics, clubfoot, stiffened arm, 
deformed hand ; and if this be mentioned in the description, generally in 
big black type, the inexperienced constable or Investigating Officer sees 
only this peculiarity and pays no attention to people who do not walk 
lame, who have no stiff arm or withered hand. It is the same with 
birthmarks, warts, etc. A well-known railway pick-pocket, at the 
moment of effecting a big theft, made on his cheek a large mole with 
carpenter's glue mixed with grated leather. A cash-keeper, who had 
committed serious defalcations, had a large natural wart by the side of 
his eye. This wart was specially mentioned in the warrant of arrest ; 
but the fugitive had, immediately after the offence, shaved it clean off and 
placed spectacles on his nose. The small cut made by the operation was 
horizontal, i.e., from the eye towards the ear, and when afterwards a 
very fine, straight reddish scar was produced, it looked exactly like a 
mark caused by the pressure of the arm of the spectacles. Waddell 
{Lyon), p. 523, notes that the bruised roots of the Lal-Chitra (Plumbago) 
applied to the skin cause vesication and quotes a case reported in 1898 of 
a false charge of dacoity having been made at Murshedabad, Bengal, in 
which the alleged injuries of the complainant were shown by the Civil 
Surgeon to have been artificially produced by the application of this 

The art of beautifying has in these days attained great perfection ; 
warts, burns, red stains, scars, freckles, etc., are removed without any 
difficulty ; even discolourations of the skin can be removed without 
leaving any roughness, thanks to the process invented by Dr. I. Paschki 
of Vienna : the skin covering the portions affected is tattooed wit 
special colours, it remains reddish for two or three days, but at the en 
of a week assumes a normal tint. We can readily understand tha 
criminals often display a lively interest in these processes of beautifica 
tion. An infallible method of making faded scars visible was discovered 


nearly a century ago by Devergie^^^\ The places on which scars, 
especially of burns, are supposed to have existed, are lightly beaten with 
the palm of the hand until the spot becomes red. The old scar will 
appear white and of its original shape. In all this class of business face 
massage now plays a great part. 

The changes in physiognomy produced by changes of complexion are 
well-known ; and whoever is acquainted with the excellent composition 
of the pigments usually employed, will not be surprised at criminals 
making such frequent use of them. It is specially easy to transform 
a dark rough complexion into one of a delicate rose tint ; it is more 
difficult to turn the blonde into a brunette, espcially when the illusion 
has to be effective ' at close quarters. A deep rouge tint can however 
in some cases be remarkably well imitated with a solution of perman- 
ganate of potash. This colour takes well, lasts a long time, and resists 

An artificial paleness generally goes along with a sickly appearance ; the 
person affecting it walks slowly, painfully, and doubled -up ; his neck is 
carefully wrapped up with a shawl and he coughs incessantly. Women 
are special adepts at this kind of imitation. (For tattooing, see pp. 162 
et seqq.) The criminal is enormously assisted in his task if he comes to 
know the description given of himself, and that is easy enough. In 
important cases it appears in all the newspapers, in other cases it is 
inserted in the police journals and circulars, which in their very nature 
and to attain their object cannot remain hidden in the hands of the 
authorities, but must be brought to the knowledge of dealers in second- 
hand goods and antiquities, pawn-brokers, and the like, to acquaint them 
with the nature of the missing articles. But among such people, the 
person wanted can but too easily learn the contents of the warrant. In 
an extremity he applies to the authority itself either directly or through 
the intermediary of a comrade, who, on the pretext of giving information, 
obtains a sight of the warrant for the arrest of his friend and his exact 

Such impudent boldness is more common than one would suppose : 
in no other way can be explained the rapidity with which fugitive crimi- 
nals obtain such accurate details of the description given of them. But 
whoever should preach prudence in this direction would do more harm 
than good ; for we cannot overlook the files of descriptions which must 
remain valueless if not published as widely as possible. Besides they pass 
through the hands of so many people that the individual described has 


little difficulty in obtaining the desired information. The only remedy 
for this danger, and that but a partial one, is to prepare the description 
of the fugitive with much thought and minute care ; that is to say, in a 
given case, we shall ask ourselves — which are the details that must be 
necessarily true i.e., that cannot be changed, e.g., a stature singularly 
short, a missing limb, the colour of the eyes, the form of the nose, etc., 
and which are those that can be changed. From what we have said 
above, the number of the members of the former class is seen to be 
small and cannot be too much restricted ; in fact it will be well to deem 
any characteristic absolutely unchangeable, more as an exception than 
a rule. 

For all the other special characteristics, we must ask in what manner 
and with what object, falsification can take place ; an approximate result 
will soon be arrived at, and we must stick to the description thus obtained. 
The most difficult task is that of the police officer who with the descrip- 
tion furnished to him must search for the criminal throughout the whole 
town, in hotels, in passing trains, etc., without having the time to compare 
persons, one after the other, with a description containing characteristics, 
some disguised, some real. He can succeed only by practice and a 
natural gift for taking in things at a glance. The task of the Investi- 
gating Officer is easier when an individual suspected of being the criminal 
*' wanted " is brought before him. If the description does not agree with 
the appearance of the man he will in the first place bear in mind that 
almost the whole may be false ; he will then make sure that some 
mistake of observation has not slipped into the description when written 
down ; finally he will examine one by one the signs which do not corres- 
pond and verify their intrinsic value, that is to say, will see whether the 
divergence noted may or may not be the result of falsification. We do 
not say that a definite decision mvist be immediately pronounced, for no 
change can be pronounced impossible so long as the specialist has not 
been consulted. 

The author has often believed that certain transformations were im- 
possible, but been speedily deceived by the medical man, the dentist, the 
orthopaidist, the maker of trusses, belts, etc., the hair-dresser, and woman 
expert in the arts of the toilette. Every experienced surgical belt maker 
can tell us how to conceal and how artificially to produce, e.g. deviatio 
of the spinal column, hunch back, deformity of the foot, etc., every thea-' 
trical hair-dresser can furnish information on the changes wrought in the 
visage, or as they call it, the mask. 




Having just indicated how important it is for a policeman to have an 
accurate and rapid glance of identification, we may here call attention to 
a method introduced by Bertillon of anthropometrical fame. It is called 
graphically the " Portrait parU " or speaking likeness. We all know the 
remarkable descriptions which are found, even in these days, on passports, 
licenses, in police gazettes, etc. : face oval, chin round, nose medium, 
mouth moderate, etc. The officer, who, armed with a description of this 
kind, is sent in search of a criminal, may just as well stop at home. 
Even the aid rendered by a photograph, still sometimes employed in case 
of need, is very much a matter of luck ; failures amount to more than 60 
per cent., and for various reasons : — the defects of the photograph, differ- 
ence in age, changes in hair, beard, corpulence, etc. To Bertillon thera 
belongs the credit of having devised a complete process, without the aid 
of photography, founded solely upon a precise and scientific description 
of a certain number of the features, which enables the officer who knows 
how to employ it, to find and identify in the middle of a crowd, and that 
with certainty, the individual whose '' Portrait parW he possesses. 

The system is taught to the police of Paris, by a teacher employed by 
M. Bertillofi. The instruction, theoretical and practical, lasts for two 
months, twenty men forming a class. 

The theoretical course consists of lectures or classes in which the 
professor describes in exact and scientific terms the various characteris- 
tics of the forehead, the nose, the ear, the lips, the mouth, the chin, 
etc. The walls of the lecture-room are covered with numbered life-size 
photographs of heads, so that when the description is finished the pupils 
can look around and point out heads containing the characteristics des- 
cribed. Here for instance is the description of the nose, quoted from the 
Becapitulary table of descriptive marks, as entered in the new model 
descriptive card," which is a summary of the lectures on the "Portrait 
parU " 
The Nose. — Depth of the root: small, medium, large. 

Profile: concave, rectilinear, convex, arched, irregular, 

Base : raised, horizontal, depressed. 

Height : \ 

Projection: Ismail, medium, large. 

Size : I 

Particularities. — The root of the nose may be very narrow ; or very 
ij large ; high or low : the root may be broken. 



The profile may be in the shape of an S : it may be flat, fine, or 
broad ; or the nose may be broken : it may be curved to right 

. or left. 

The tip may be tapering, or thick, or bi-lobar, or flat ; twisted to 
right or left ; blotched and pimpled. 

The partition (septum) may be disclosed or hidden. 

The nostrils may be stiff or mobile, recurved, dilated, pinched up. 

All the features and the general contour of the head are thus examined 
and described in succession with perfect precision. The next lesson is 
on colours ; the colour of the iris, hair, beard, complexion ; then morpho- 
logical characteristics, first in profile, then full-face. As the professor 
describes a trait he draws it on the board, and asks the students to search 
for it among the photographs on the walls. The eye is quickly trained, 
and after a two months' course of five lectures weekly of 1^ hours each, 
the student is able to construct a speaking likeness, or to search for a 
person by the aid of a speaking likeness, which he either has written on 
the card or fixed in his head. 

Practical work also helps him. From the second month of the course 
a descriptive card, serially numbered and drawn up in conformity with 
the principles of the " Portrait parte,'' is prepared for every person 
arrested and brought daily to the office for anthropometric measurement. 
These cards are given to the students and when all the criminals, one or 
two hundred or even more, are assembled in the great hall, the students 
are ordered to go amongst them, and pick out and bring up the person or 
persons whose card or cards they possess. In a very few days the 
students can pick out their men in two or three minutes. At the end 
of the second month, on leaving the school, they are provided with a 
formidable and accurate instrument for the recognition of malefactors. 

Section ii. — False Names. 

The assumption of a false name or alias is one of the greatest diffi- 
culties encountered by the police and the magistracy ; whoever can 
appreciate at its real value this difficulty and its troublesome consequences 
will not perhaps be inclined to laugh at the counsel of despair, namely, 
to print painlessly but in indelible writing, on a part of the body not 
usually visible, the name and birth-place of every convicted criminal, and 
even of every individual in general. But as this bold proposition ^^*^^ 
has little chance of adoption, we must find other means of arriving at a 


solution in those troublesome cases where we cannot help suspecting 
some individual of passing under a false name. In every case such 
people must be shadowed ; for no one desires to move about in the world 
under an alias merely for amusement or for some trifling offence as yet 

Generally speaking, the reasons for assuming a false name are the 
following : either our man has escaped from confinement, or he is obliged 
to fly in consequence of some serious crime committed, or he prefers to 
travel under a distinguished, high-sounding name, imposing upon and 
living at the expense of fools. Sometimes we find in the same individual 
two of the reasons indicated or even all the three. Of course no definite 
rule can be laid down for ascertaining with certainty the true name of 
such a person, but one can, and not so infrequently as might be supposed, 
establish a man's identity in round about ways, provided always one does 
not shrink from taking a little trouble. 

First, we must see if the individual in question possesses any papers of 
identification. If he has, they must be examined for the purpose of see- 
ing if they have been forged in whole or part (see Chapter XVIII. Sec. ii.). 

If they be wholly false, or at least false so far as names and descrip- 
tions are concerned, they must be treated simply as non-existent ; perhaps 
a starting point may be discovered by communicating with the authorities 
who have issued the certificate, if, indeed, this portion of the document 
be authentic. It may be asked for instance on whose behalf the certifi- 
cate was issued, and thus may be discovered the original owner of the 
paper, who can perhaps inform us how^ he lost it and into whose hands 
it has fallen. 

Of course the description of the original proprietor must be carefully 
compared with that of the man in possession, the height, corpulence, 
hair, etc.; but especially the trade recorded : from this point of view the 
person in possession of the certificate may even be examined by a specia- 
list. Thus one can establish, with more or less certainty, that the 
individual is in illegal possession of the certificate, however loudly he may 
protest. If the suspect has got no letter of identification, or if the name 
found on a genuine certificate is false, we must never forget that almost 
every man in assuming a false name tries to find some assonance or other/ 
relation with his real personality, — a strange but common obstinacy .( 
Thus the baptismal name is often preserved, or the family name is simply 
reversed or transformed in some manner. (See Chap. XV., ''Ciphers."} 

The following are some examples of name transformation, drawn 


from the experience of the author. Sonnenberg becomes Sterhthal; 
Reimofier becomes Beinhuher ; Herlog becomes Behgol (each syllable 
reversed) ; Maiidis (Slav) becomes by permutation Dasumi ; Mailer re- 
versed is Rellam; Mandl {Mmm~Ij3btm Vir) becomes Virl', Mundinger 
{Mund ^ Mmil -rnouth and Ding -^ Sadie -^tiling) becomes Matihacher. 

Such transformations are not discovered at a glance. Of those 
quoted, Dasumi was deciphered and Mauhacher suspected, the others 
were not observed until the real name was known. In one case a mother 
took her daughter's name, in another the name of the birth-place with 
the termination-er was assumed, and in two cases the name of the illegi- 
timate father slightly changed was taken, — Hohnmaier for Hollmaier 
and Kreuziger for Kranziger. 

Each individual case will give us some information as to how to pro- 
ceed to discover the individual's real name. We can evidently only give 
some hints upon important points. If it is of real importance to establish 
a person's identity, much time must be devoted to it. A method the 
author has found ver}^ successful is to make the suspect converse as much 
as possible. 

This class of gentry have in general travelled much and seen much. 
It is a good plan, when one knows how to tickle vanity, to make them 
describe their travels and their career. Most often our man pretends 
that he was born on boardship, among gipsies, on a journey, or in some 
other romantic fashion ; then he joins a troup of travelling comedians, 
bearleaders, rope-dancers, circus performers, etc., and traverses the world 
with them ; then he takes an engagement as servant with a dealer in 
cattle or horses, or goes to sea as a sailor or stoker, the vessel bears 
some common name (Pluto, Neptune, Venice, St. Mary, etc.,) and the 
captain is dead, or perchance has remained in America, or else he was a 
disorderly sort of man who failed to niaintain his registers in order. In 
such case it is impossible to establish if the man has really been in the 
service he pretends to or not. 

One listens to all these tales, makes a note of them, or better stil 
takes them down in shorthand without being observed by the speaker ; 
little by little a morsel of truth slips into the recital ; then come descrip- 
tions of countries and people that he has really seen, at the same time 
come relations he has had with these people, in fine reminiscences of his 
past life. When his story runs dry, the Investigating Officer interrupts 
the conversation and proceeds to gather all the information he can from 
books of travel, etc., as to the countries, people and things of which the 



man has been speaking. At the next conversation he can dwell on these 
descriptions and thus draw out more precise details. The truth will 
come to light by degrees and perhaps it will be possible to form an idea 
of a man's trade, of his occupation, even of his origin, of his relations, 
and other ties. Meanwhile the Investigating Officer will be able, by 
noting his language and dialect, to limit, more or less closely, the area in 
which he must have been born. He will then have recourse to an expert ; 
if, for example, he has been able to determine that the man is a North 
German, he will call in another North German to speak to his country- 
man ; he should be able within certain limits to determine the district 
where the particular dialect is spoken. Then, on some pretext, a con- 
versation is started, and if the agent is a clever man he will always 
discover some of the countries with which the suspect has some acquain- 
tance, and may, with good luck, light on the exact neighbourhood 
of his birth. When nothing further can be discovered by these means, 
the Investigating Officer will apply to the authorities of the supposed 
place of his birth, and will send them his photograph, his description, and 
all the details that have been discovered (his probable trade, travels, 
relations, etc.). When this has been carefully done with a sufficiency 
of time and trouble, then the Investigating Officer, if he has any luck at 
all, should easily establish the identity of the individual and have the 
satisfaction of rendering harmless a most dangerous person. An instructive 
case may be here related in detail. 

The author was a Magistrate of a small town ; about three leagues from 
this town was situated a watering place or Spa, celebrated throughout 
the world. One morning early, he rode over to this station on some 
magisterial business which was soon finished. But as the horse had 
cast a shoe and the only reliable farrier had gone out, delay in this 
watering place until late in the afternoon became compulsory. The 
Mayor and Inspector of the Baths was an old aristocrat, a retired cavalry 
officer, who had accepted the appointment as something to do. He was 
well educated and intelligent, a bachelor, a jolly fellow, who took an 
interest in everything going on. The author spent the day in the Mayor's 
company, who pointed out a man, of foreign demeanour, who had been 
staying in the town for some time. Very tall, of friendly manners, ex- 
tremely elegant, dressed like a real dandy, he was to be found wherever 
anything was going on, preferred to mix in the best society, was not an 
invalid, and spent his money recklessly. He called himself the Baron 
de v., a native of Hanover. 



This young man did not look like a genuine nobleman, as also thought 
my companion, who was most jealous of the reputation of his town 
and related all sorts of stories about him. We were both much inter- 
ested and resolved to shadow him throughout the afternoon. We fol- 
lowed him in the park, in the saloon of the bathing establishment, in 
a restaurant, in a cafe, and observed his strange goings-on. The most 
striking thing about the man was the way he spent his money ; he 
appeared to take delight, not in making purchases, but in throwing his 
money about. Now this is an infaUible sign of a man of little cultivation, 
who has gained without difficulty a fortune he has not always enjoyed. 
This mode of spending is as characteristic as it is difficult to describe ; it 
cannot be defined otherwise than by the words — spending money for the 
sake of spending. Further we were surprised to find our man boasting, 
without rhyme or reason, and often in an importunate manner, of his high 
and noble rank, while his manners appeared to show little confidence, and 
even to betray a certain disquietude, far from being in accord with his 
boisterous gaiety. All this was so characteristic and at the same time 
so interesting, that we continued our study as long as possible ; we came 
to the conclusion that our man was probably dissipating a fortune 
inherited from an over-selfish father, and that to fit in with his pleasures 
he had assumed a high-sounding and aristocratic name. 

The incident had passed from the auther's mind when one day a 
gendarme brought before him" the Baron de V. " The gendarme had 
learned that de V. was gambling heavily and had invited him to estabfish 
his identity. De V. declared that people of his rank were not in the 
custom of carrying about papers of identification, dismissed the gendarme 
abruptly and rudely, and made prepartions for quitting the watering place 
on the morrow. This precipitate departure, immediately after receiving 
the invitation to establish his identity, appeared suspicious to the gen- 
darme, who arrested him and brought him before the Court. This 
excessive zeal on the part of the gendarme seemed very unlucky, for the 
Court did not know what answer to make to the man just arrested and 
who kept on demanding to be informed what fault he had committed. 
He showed himself polite but indignant to the highest degree at the 
insult inflicted on him, talked loudly of the embassy, where, he said, the 
Magistrate would be obliged to justify his conduct and where much 
unpleasantness awaited him. 

Soon however we began to talk more quietly. His father, he said, 
was a land-holder in Hanover ; his family was descended directly from 


William the Lion, and was closely connected with all the families which, 
little more than a dozen years after the annexation of Hanover, were still 
known throughout the whole world (Borries, Hodenberg, Hammerstein, 
etc). After the annexation, he added, his family emigrated and since 
then he had spent his time in travelling far and wide. He related all 
this quite naturally and with just sufficient explanation ; he appeared 
really to speak the true Hanoverian dialect, and conducted himself other- 
wise like a gentleman. What nevertheless made the Court doubtful was 
his refusal to furnish the address of anyone who by telegraph could sup- 
ply information about de V. He was ashamed he said to allow reference 
to be made through the Court to his relations and friends, many highly 
placed, a course which would ruin his future, etc. As he was absolutely 
guilty of no offence, proof of his innocence would soon be forthcoming ; 
he would therefore rather remain under arrest than telegraph as sug- 

All this not being satisfactory, he was asked to describe his coat of 
arms : he replied with hesitation, — " A helmet above, a shield below, 
arabesques all round, and plenty gold and silver everywhere." But in 
spite of precise questions, he could tell nothing about his real armorial 
bearings, crest, colours, supporters, etc. That a " Legitimist ", who had 
with his king left his country and his fatherland, should be ignorant of 
his own arms was a certain proof of his being an impostor, and accordingly 
he was not released from custody. 

Fortunately a copy of the Almanach de Gotlia, which gives the list of 
all the families of Barons, was at hand, and a reference to it showed that 
while there certainly was a family of '' Barons de V." there was no 
Otto, Baron de V." the name given by the prisoner. The information 
he had given as to various members of the family was fairly accurate, 
but contained blunders which no genuine member of the family could 
have committed. This conclusion arrived at, he was remanded under 
arrest, in spite of his rage and repeated threats. But what was to be 
done? All that we had as yet proved was that he was a liar passing 
under a false name, but he could not be accused of any grave offence 
justifying his detention. 

On reflection, it was remembered that there lived in the town an old 
master-turner, a native of Mecklenburg, who had somehow or other got 
stranded in the little place. He was sent for, and a fairly long conversa- 
tion with the prisoner took place in his presence. The old Mecklenburger 
gave it as his opinion that though the man spoke the Hanoverian dialect 



very well, yet he was a native of Hamburg, a place this expert knew from 
his infancy. Photographs, descriptions, etc., were then sent to Hamburg, 
Hanover, Bremen, Liineburg, and Oldenberg, and within a week it was 
known that the man's real name was Otto H., that he had kept an inn in 
the neighbourhood of Hamburg, and was " wanted " by the authorities 
of Osnabriick for manslaughter, and by those at Dresden for a great theft 
of valuable securities. Further inquiries showed that his mother had at 
one time been a chamber-maid in the family of the Barons de V., thus he 
was able to know approximately all about the family ; he had retained 
his own Christian name, Otto. 

We may here remark that information afforded by such yearly 
publications as the Ahiianach de Gotha, the various Peerages, Landed 
Gentry, etc., is often most serviceable, though not always quite complete. 
As the information concerning each family is for the most part furnished 
by the family itself, its value varies. The historical part is frequently 
inaccurate, at least the genealogy often goes further back than serious 
criticism would permit. But this is a matter of little importance for thej 
Investigating Officer. Dates concerning members of a family still alive 
or recently deceased, are almost without exception accurate, for there is 
no reason for making false statements which would be immediately 
corrected by readers who know. Even the ages of ladies are accurate, 
not being furnished by persons who have already reached an uncertain 
age but dating even from the birth of the person, and being passed on 
from year to year ^^^\ 

Besides the dialect spoken by the unknown, and which almost always, i 
with a little trouble, betrays the place of his origin, there are few devices J 
or rather we should say, only petty devices, to fall back on. For the >| 
most part they leave us at fault. It is a good plan to make the suspect i 
undergo a medical examination ; such an examination may disclose I 
exterior indications, as a deformity, birth-mark, etc. ; one may perhaps f 
discover signs of circumcision, indicating that the man is a Jew ; perhaps 
also there may be tattoo marks on the arms or chest. These are very 
important, they may show that the person belongs to the army or navy, 
and sometimes display his initials, etc. ^^*^\ It is generally easy to dis- 
cover signs, which are of importance as indicating the trade to which th< 
person has belonged (3**-88s>. Thus by constant handling of a plane, the 
joiner becomes lopsided ; tailors and shoe-makers from the sedentary 
nature of their occupation develope a characteristic curvature of chest and" 
shoulders ; hairdressers have one shoulder higher than the other. Many 


striking instances are pointed out by Felix Hement in an illustrated essay, 
La Photographie Judiciaire^^^''\ who further presses the point that 
photography can reveal what is hidden from the naked eye. (See Chapter 
v., Sec. ix.B.). Thus handling the reins produces wales on the inner sides 
of the fingers of coachmen ; the chisel causes thickening of the skin 
between the forefinger and thumb of engravers, etc. ; the traces of the 
last are seen on the right thumb and upper part of the thigh of cobblers ; 
the skin on the ball of the little finger of printers who have to tie the 
type together with string is thickened ; writers, students, clerks, and 
artists have frequently a wale on the right middle finger from holding 
the pen or pencil, as well as a perceptible thickening of the skin of the 
left elbow. Seamstresses have plentiful needle pricks on the left fore- 
finger ; glass-blowers have the cheeks baggy and the muscles developed ; 
Nine-pin players have a wale on the middle finger near the nail ; the 
place where the handle of the brush comes can be easily seen on the 
hands of painters and varnishers. A curious illustration is given by 
Crooke (p. 52) as to Malabar Nambudris : — " The Nambutiri Brahman 
men bathe three times a day ; women and children only once. The men 
may be recognised by the thick indurated skin between the first finger 
and thumb of the right hand, where the loin-cloth is being held while 
being wringed dry." (See Chapter XIII. Sec. ii.) 

It is also very important to examine the man's clothes, being parti- 
cularly careful over the seams, unripping those portions where the 
cloth is folded several times, as the coat-collar, waist-band, trousers-flap, 
etc. ; we often thus discover papers that the suspect does not, for some 
reason or other, wish to part with, as letters, paper-money, even his true 
papers of identification, preserved for different circumstances. A very 
curious discovery was thus once made. The man had inserted' in the 
lining of his hat, a piece of newspaper, folded several times, as is fre- 
quently done to make a rather large hat fit. This bit of paper, filthy with 
grease and dirt, contained among other things a short account of a high- 
way robbery which had been committed by two persons several years 
previously. According to the paragraph, one of the robbers had been 
jaught and convicted, the other had escaped and had not up to that 
dme been captured. One might easily look upon this as a mere accident, 
ind indeed the prisoner declared, in the most natural way, that he had 
Deen at school with the convicted robber, that the article in the journal 
lad come into his hands by chance, and had been used to pack his hat, 
)ought second-hand. Besides, he added, the sad fate of his old school- 


fellow, fallen so low, had painfully impressed him. But on forwarding 
the extract with the portrait and description of the unknown to the 
authorities where the robbery had been committed, it was found that the 
man was in fact the second robber, unfound up till then ; he confessed 
he had preserved the article out of pure " interest in his case." 

Another case (September 1903) made the round of the newspapers. 
In Paris a certain Lemot was murdered and the police had no knowledge 
of the murderer. A few weeks later a policeman found a man asleep 
in the Jardin des Plantes on a bench, out of whose pocket a number 
of newspaper cuttings had fallen. The policeman read these, which 
were all about the case of Lemot; and when the man awoke and was 
questioned, in his half -waking state he confessed that he was indeed the 

The psychological method is sometimes successful, but is more diffi- 
cult to make use of. There are naturally no rules for its employment.^ 
We must observe the individual as closely as possible so as to know his 
intellectual qualities, dive in thought into his private life, and draw ouj 
conclusions from the particulars so discovered. Of course luck must hel] 
us here. One day a police-officer came with a request to see an unknowi 
prisoner, believing that he was on the track of an absconding cash -keeper. 
When he saw the man, his belief was confirmed and he started a conver- 
sation. The suspected man knew of the theft, and when he saw that he 
was suspected of being the thief, he flew into a passion and declared that 
sooner than be taken for a thief, he would confess that he had escaped 
from prison where he was confined as a murderer. 

Even for ' High Class ' malefactors, Hochstapler, swell mobsmen, cases 
so frequent and so difficult, no other means can be suggested (sss— sss). By 
this designation we now-a-days understand a man who knows how to 
give himself the manners of a person in easy circumstances and of 
good reputation so as to be able under this guise to commit swindles, 
thefts, and other plants. Generally they are men who have received a 
good education in their youth, or who at least have had opportunities of 
picking up the appearance of such. Without exception they are men 
of ability, full of dexterity and presence of mind, but with a love of an 
easy and idle life which prevents them tui'ning to any regular and honest 

The modus operandi of the swell mobsman is well enough known 
from the daily press, which is always ready to give publicity to his 
exploits. Fashionably dressed, he steps into a jeweller's shop and steals 


while pretending to select, or he causes the valuables selected to be 
brought to his hotel, takes delivery, and disappears through another door 
(see Chap. XVII, Sec. vi.) ; he goes to the banker and collects the amount 
of a forged cheque ; he manages to get introduced to the highest social 
circles, runs up heavy debts and disappears ; he cheats at play and that on 
a large scale ; he becomes engaged to one or several wealthy young ladies, 
and makes off with the moneys borrowed from presumptive fathers-in-law; 
he buys houses and estates without paying for them, mortgages them, and 
disappears ; he gets into business relations with a merchant and runs up 
debts in his name ; in a word, he knows marvellously well how to play 
upon that weakness of mankind that allows itself to be bluffed by a high- 
sounding name, fine clothes, easy and self-possessed manners ; he knows 
there are fools to be found always and everywhere, and lives at their 
expense until he is caught. 

The position of the Investigating Officer with respect to this gentry 
is a delicate one, especially when there is no specific offence to charge 
them with ; the Investigating Officer has always the fear of committing 
a mistake and arresting an honest man. We repeat, the only and safest 
plan is to observe whatever is not ''quite the thing" in these people, and 
that does not as a rule demand much time ; in his bearing, his dress, his 
way of introducing himself, his manners, his tales, his affirmations and 
denials, contradictions and inaccuracies can be speedily detected, and then 
the Investigating Officer can tranquilly set about his real work. The 
brassy gold, the gipsy coral, the sham ermine appear genuine only at a 
distance to any one knowing even but a little of such things ; the suspect 
can be easily upset by making him give a detailed account of his previous 
career ; the improbabilities, the contradictions, the fantastic and con- 
cocted adventures, are not difficult to recognize ; the rest of the work 
may be safely left to the telegraph, photography, and perhaps " Burke's 

The time expended in establishing the identity of an individual, or at 
least in making certain that he is not the person he pretends to be, is 
never lost, for, that accomplished, the crime for which he has been 
arrested is already discovered and half proven. If the great land-holder, 
the self-styled " ChevaHer de X. ", has run into debt, he will be speedily 
convicted of swindling when he is proved to be a man without name or 
fortune ; if the self-styled " Countess Y.", suspected of cheating at cards, 
is no other than a^^ordinary cocotte, the proof of the cheating will not 
be very difficult. 


In every case in which one has to do with a fashionable swindler one 
will naturally endeavour to fix the exact scene of the crime ; but the 
greatest care and the most trouble will be bestowed on the identity of the 
swindler. Above all this rule should be rigorously followed when a false 
name has been given or there is a suspicion thereof. Our records show 
a shockingly large number of penal cases in which the most dangerous 
people have been mildly punished because they have chosen to conceal 
their real names, and give themselves out as innocent. This decep- 
tion succeeds most beautifully when the accused is cunning enough to 
take the name and parentage of some real living respectable man whom 
he has perhaps met in an inn and whose papers he may have purloined. 
The law makes inquiries at the home of the supposed accused, and 
receives the most satisfactory account of his previous lif*i. The only 
thing to be done in such a case is to watch our man carefully, the old 
jail-bird belongs to such an easily recognisable type that the practised 
eye can scarcely be mistaken ; but if there be the slightest suspicion 
that a false name has been given, then one must secure without fail at 
the alleged home of the suspect a good photograph. If the name and 
the person agree, the question can be almost always settled with 

The author recalls the following case. An honest artizan, a black- 
smith, was in prison for rioting and likely to be punished, because the 
records of his own district showed two convictions against him for large 
robberies. The smith denied having suffered the punishments, but when 
it was demonstrated to him that name, age, birthplace, etc., were rightly 
shewn, he was silent, and acknowledged the justice of the punishment. 
Through the circumstance that his work-book showed work done in 
Bavaria while according to the robbery he should have been in Vienna, 
it was discovered that the convictions did not agree, and at last the silent 
man admitted that a long time before he had lost his papers of identity. 
These had been found and used by a vagrant who had as supposed owner 
of these papers been twice convicted. The name, age and birthplace 
agreed but the conviction was wrong. It is well-known that such 
things happen verv often. 

Section iii.- Pretended illnesses and pains. 

Hardly one of the afflictions to which humanity is subject has not 
been worked up and simulated by criminals. The reasons for such 


shamming are many. If the rogue is at Hberty, he often assumes infir- 
mities for the purpose. of begging ; bhndness ^s^\ deafness, paralysis, skin 
eruptions, and other disabiHties assumed by beggars are so well-known, 
that they require but a passing reference. It is a common trick, too, 
for beggars to insinuate themselves into houses with stories of children 
sick at home, always taking care to add that the illness is small-pox, 
diphtheria, or some other contagious malady, so that to get rid of them 
quickly people give them much larger alms than would usually be given. 
I These maladies, as well as pretended cramps, epilepsy, spitting blood, 
etc., are not particularly interesting to the Investigating Officer. The 
following cases are the most important from his point of view. 

A. Illness of witnesses or suspects summoned before the Court. 

It is often observed that of two or more persons summoned before a 
magistrate, only one turns up ; the other is unwell, has been kicked by a 
horse, or otherwise prevented from appearing on the appointed day. The 
Investigating Officer then thoughtlessly questions the individual present 
and sends him away with a strict injunction to see that the other appears 
on the morrow without fail. Of course he does, for the person questioned 
to-day has learned in the course of his examination what it is all about ; 
he knows what he has said, reports it to his friend, and the two can at 
leisure agree as to what statement is to be made on the morrow. 

And not only do accomplices act thus, but apparently most straight- 
forward witnesses, who for some reason or other do not wish to speak the 
truth; often the accused and witnesses work together for an acquittal, 
the latter testifying falsely in the interest of the former. In such cir- 
cumstances the very fact that a witness though summoned is not present, 
should rouse in the mind of the Investigating Officer a suspicion that 
there is something unusual in the affair; either the accused or the wit- 
nesses are anxious to work together, or both have made common cause, 
and the only resource is to send away, every time, the person who appears, 
and see to it that all the persons cited appear together, without excep- 

If this sort of thing happens, one must be doubly careful to ensure 
that the individuals interrogated succeed each other without interrup- 
tion, and that the persons to be examined are allowed no opportunity, 
even in the Court house or police-station, for communication with each 
other. If only two persons are to be interrogated, it is imperative that 



the examinations follow each other without interruption. If there are 
several persons, those not yet examined must be kept together in the 
witnesses' waiting room, and each one immediately on the conclusion of 
his examination must be compelled to leave the Court house, without 
being afforded an opportunity of meeting the persons not yet interrogated. 
If the matter is important it is not sufficient to pass orders to this 
effect, persons already examined must be carefully w^atched, a precaution 
which will be well compensated for by the accuracy of the depositions 

The best plan, in important cases, is to hurry on the examination of 
the witnesses as much as possible, without giving them time to discuss 
the matter in detail ; one will also do well to proceed with the inquiry at 
the scene of the crime, thus preventing the witnesses having to journey 
together to the Court house. This journey is always dangerous, for on 
the way the coming examination will naturally form the subject of 
conversation ; and the matter is discussed at such length that finally 
nobody knows what he has seen himself and what he has heard from 
the others. This is of constant occurrence in India where witnesses 
have frequently to make long journeys on foot or packed by the dozen 
in country carts or third-class railway compartments. But if the In- 
vestigating Officer arrives on the spot soon after the occurrence and 
immediately proceeds with his inquiry, the statements he collects will not 
yet be disfigured. Of course the witnesses should not be collected 
together in a crowd so as to give them time for talk ; while one is being 
questioned, another, naturally the nearest, will be sent for ; so that no 
one knows whether he is to be called at all, or has time to talk to another 
witness. Acting thus, one will take every precaution humanly possible. 
To sum up, the most important maxim will always be ; " the more 
quickly a witness is examined, the more accurate will be his statement." 
Lapse of time dulls the memory and gives opportunities for discussions 
which befog the whole matter. 

B, Sudden illness of accused or witnesses when under examination (562— 564). 

Of course it may happen that a person under examination falls 
ill by chance or in consequence of great emotion and excitement, but i 
the majority of cases a sudden fainting fit, an epileptic attack, or som 
other nervous seizure, is not genuine. The trick will be recognize 
when it is seen that the attack always occurs at a time favourable to the 


witness. Thus when the man is driven into a corner, when he does not 
find a ready answer, when he contradicts, when the Investigating Officer 
pulls him up sharp, that is the psychological moment. In such a case 
little can be done, for even if the trick be guessed, the sick man cannot 
be compelled to stop shamming, the- scoundrel has effectively gained time 

tand that is all he wanted. 
It follows that it is not a matter of indifference to the Investigating 
Officer whether there be shamming or not ; on the one hand, he will be 
convinced that there is a screw loose somewhere, since simulation has 
been deemed necessary ; on the other hand, he may induce the man to 
throw up the sponge, by showing him that nobody is taken in. The 
Investigating Officer will then, always and without exception, have 
recourse to the opinion of a medical man, and meantime will observe 
closely the phenomena accompanying the faint, fit, etc.; he will make a 
note of his observations on a sheet of paper, so that he may communicate 
them as completely as possible to the medical man. If the phenomena 
have been accurately observed, the medical man may be able to give his 
opinion on the question of shamming with as great certainty as if he had 
himself seen the attack. This is the best thing to do, for it will seldom 
be possible to have the medical man at hand quickly enough to witness the 
seizure, while usually the condition of the sick man improves with extra- 
ordinary rapidity on the arrival of the physician. If the latter declares 
the whole thing a pretence, the Investigating Officer can take a high hand 
if it occurs again, explaining to the person that his game is up, that it is 
extremely dangerous, and adds greatly to the suspicions against him. 

Some recommend the use of little strategems or tricks, which they 
consider permissible. Thus, they say, it is a good thing to talk with the 
clerk, paying no attention to the individual twisting abput in his attack 
of nerves, about matters which will be unpleasant for him to hear. Thus 
it may be said that he has already made a confession, or that one of his 
accomplices has given him away ; the shammer, indignant at the lies he is 
hearing, will suddenly begin to listen, will twist about less, especially if 
one talks in an undertone. The story is told of a gipsy, suddenly fallen 
in an epileptic fit, who recovered at once when he heard the magistrate 
say that it would be necessary to send the man to an hospital for the 
insane, where he would be compelled to sit on ice and be douched with 
cold water several hours a day. The gipsy was at once himself and 
promised to have no more epileptic fits. But such tricks cannot be coun- 
tenanced, however useful they may prove in special circumstances; for 


in no case should the Investigating Officer descend to deliberate lying; 
while on the other hand, if the shammer is not taken in by the trick, the 
Investigating Officer is completely disarmed. 

One permissible device, which often succeeds quite as well when 
one is right in assuming simulation, is to say calmly and firmly that 
the whole thing is a sham and that the accused by his conduct is doing 
no good to himself. If the latter perceives that he is not believed he 
will generally give up the game. 

But, as we have already said, the all important thing is to make 
sure that the attack is a sham ; and as one cannot always have a medical 
man in attendance, as the attacks do not always last until a medical man 
can arrive, and as in so-called chronic affections (as partial deafness) one 
cannot await the arrival of the medical man (for example on a journey), 
it is useful to know some methods of treating cases of no great compli- 

1. Shamming blindness. 

Blindness may be simulated in many ways, some of the crudest 
description. Dr. Litton Forbes (see Strand Magazine, March, 1906)\ 
mention an ingenious device. He met a man in Paris who asked for 
charity on the score of blindness. The writer proceeds ; *' The man 
attracted attention. He walked quickly and with an air of confidence 
He looked fixedly at me, and his eyes seemed to give expression to hi 
thoughts. There was no uncertainty in his gaze, no shifty movements 
no drooping or quivering of the lids. His story told of blindness from 
deep-seated inflammation in both eyes, which the doctors had pronounced 
incurable. He had at command a rich vocabulary of technical terms, 
some of which he misplaced absurdly. On closer looking into, the eyes 
did indeed present a curious appearance. In each the pupil had almost 
disappeared. The iris or coloured portion had absorbed the central black 
spot. The pupils had become mere pinholes, but what remained of them 
was bright and well-defined. A glance was enough for anyone familiar 
with eye affections. The man was an imposter. He had instilled a drug 
named eserine, the active principle of the Calabar bean, into each eye 
This had contracted the pupils temporarily, without any permanen 
injury, but the appearance produced was well calculated to lend weight 
to his other statements." It is added that ''he might with more effect 
have used atropine. This alkaloid is the active principle of belladonna, 



and has the effect of enormoush' dilating the pupils. In fact, the pupil 
may be made to absorb practically the whole of the coloured portion of 
the eye, and the black pupils then violently contrast with, and appear in 
relief against, the white portion of the organ. A very strange and weird 
appearance, well calculated to move the benevolent, is thus induced. 
Such a deception could be suspected readily enough from the fact that 
the size of the pupil was greater than in any known disease. By looking 
into the eye also with the opthalmoscope certain characteristic appear- 
ances would be found wanting. The enlarged pupils could also easily be 
reduced in size by eserine, or would reduce themselves in a very few days 
if the individual were kept under observation." 

Dr. Forbes gives a useful test for detecting simulated blindness of one 
eye, a common form of deception among conscripts and recruits. " If a 
pencil, say, be held about two inches distant from the eyes of a person 
with natural vision in both eyes, he will have no difficulty in spelling out 
each letter in every word of a line of small type. If, however, he tries 
to do the same with one eye closed, the pencil will effectually cover the 
pupil of the open eye, and several consecutive letters will be lost to view. 
Hence, if the supposed one-eyed 'recruit can spell out the letters of each 
word with a pencil held in front of him, he has in truth performed an 
impossible feat, and the imposition at once stands revealed." 

2. Shamming Deafness. 

When deafness is feigned it is a very troublesome job for the Investi- 
gating Officer, especially when the inquiry is a hurried one which cannot 
be postponed, and there is neither time nor opportunity to call in a 
medical man. If we suspect the person to be shamming, it is important 
to let him see at once that we are not taken in. There are several ways 
of doing this which even an amateur can make use of. 

Ave-Lallemant recommends the employment of ushers or attenders to 

jhout the questions in a loud voice into the ears of the deponent, until he 

^ives up pretending. But this is a very irregular procedure : besides it is 

lot always easy to carry out, and, as a matter of fact, proves nothing, for 

JUch shouting is painful even to persons really hard of hearing. 

A simple method is to strike the ground with the foot or let some 
teavy object fall behind the suspected individual. The man really hard 
»f hearing perceives the disturbance, owing to the conductivity of the 
|Cound, the chair, his body; he ''feels the noise" more or less: on the 



other hand, the pretender thinks he ought not to hear the noise ; hence 
the former turns, the latter remains motionless. 

If a person, as frequently happens, pretends to be deaf in one ear, the 
truth can be discovered with certainty by causing two persons simultane- 
ously to whisper different words in the two ears. If one ear be quite deaf, 
the person can understand what is whispered in the other ear and can 
speak it. But if he can hear with both ears, what is whispered on the 
two sides becomes so confused that he understands nothing and can 
repeat nothing (ses-se?) 

Casper-Linian however, remarks, and rightly, that the best means of 
detecting a simulated deafness is to observe the features, though this 
plan serves rather to enlighten the Investigating Officer than to confuse 
the pretender. But if the Investigating Officer during the inquiry con- 
tinuously watches the features of the person under examination and 
notes the impression produced by certain questions or remarks on the 
supposed deaf man, he will soon see, by a flash in the eyes or a protesting 
motion of head or hand, that he has been understood. If the Investi- 
gating Officer then quietly and firmly explains this, the '' deaf " man will 
generally abandon his now useless attempt. 

The same observations apply to deaf-mutes, for deaf-mutes are only 
persons deaf from birth, who have consequently never learned to talk. 
If then mutism is feigned, deafness must be feigned also, for it is very 
rare that one becomes mute after birth, and such cases are still more 
rarely simulated. It must also be remembered that, according to the 
observations of Liman, Naschka, and Toscan, deaf-mutes hear almost 
all the noises produced by solid bodies, stamping of feet on the ground, 
fall of heavy articles, etc. : they therefore turn round, while the pretender 
remains unmoved ^^^"^l 

A method which frequently succeeds has been suggested by Klauss- 
mann-Weien^^'^^^, namely to cause the deaf person to write something. 
One really deaf, who has been taught to write in an institution for deaf- 
mutes, will write correctly and without orthographical faults, while the 
pretender writes by sound and hence often incorrectly. 

8. Shamming Epilepsy. 

Epilepsy is simulated not only before a magistrate to avoid ^in 
terrogatory or a conviction, but before the military authorities to escape 
from service. Such simulations belong for the most part to the domain 


of the medical jurisprudent ; but it is frequently important for the In- 
vestigating Officer to be able to decide at once whether an attack of 
epilepsy be real or feigned ; for example, when about to arrest a person 
upon a warrant or, as just indicated, when a suspect desires to interrupt 
an embarrassing examination. If the Investigating Officer discovers the 
trick at the first glance, he will of course proceed very differently from 
how he would act if in doubt. Besides, we may have to wait a long 
time for the medical report ; for shammers are generally very careful 
not to have a fit in presence of the medical man. Even if the latter be 
summoned speedily, our man will cut his fit short, so that no complete 
diagnosis of it can be made. As a rule, feigned attacks are good imita- 
tions and consequently difficult to detect. The reason doubtless is that 
no one feigns an epileptic seizure without having often seen one. Un- 
fortunately this terrible malady is so wdde-spread that opportunities 
for observing it are only too frequent. Much has been written upon the 
easiest methods of detecting feigned epilepsy ; all treatises on Medical 
Jurisprudence deal with the question ; and army surgeons have also 
published many handbooks treating of this and other feigned disabilities 
for military service (as Dr. W. Derhlich, E. Heller, etc.) ; each one has 
characteristic symptoms on which he relies, depreciating those of his 
colleagues ; so that on the whole little really reliable remains. We can 
however, say : — 

1. An attack is always suspicious when it comes on at a critical 
moment favourable to the individual attacked, at the moment of arrest, 
during an examination, etc. It must not of course be forgotten that 
extreme emotion, great fright, etc., may bring on a nervous attack in the 
case of persons really ill. 

'2. The manner of the fall is important. The individual whose 
attack is genuine, does not select the spot of his fall, he falls without 
taking any precautions or guarding himself with his hands; thus he is 
often severely wounded, especially on the face, as he falls forward. The 
shammer sinks down gently, protecting himself in his fall by stretch- 
ing out his hands or opening his elbows. Even if he does not act thus 
and should by chance hurt himself, he cannot completely repress some 
manifestation of pain, as a contraction of the features, etc. 

3. The " startling but very characteristic " cry of the epileptic, so 

well known and, once heard, so impossible to forget, this unique cry, 

proceeding from the throat and accompanied by foaming at the mouth, 

' rauque plutot qu'aigu,'' as the French Doctors say, "hoarse rather than 


shrill," will afford satisfactory proof only in certain cases. It the sick 
man repeats the cry frequently or continues it for some time, he is 
certainly pretending ; but if he cries out only once, then the attack 
is genuine or the imitation perfect; if the cry be absent, the attack 
may yet be genuine, for it is often wanting in the case of well known 

4. An important symptom and one impossible to imitate is the 
muscular contraction, those convulsive movements and peculiar tremblings 
of the muscles in the region of the back and the nape of the neck ; what 
might be called '' muscular anarchy, " or confusion. Some very strong 
men, especially expert gymnasts, can produce this contraction in the 
upper part of the arm, but no one can at will provoke it over the whole 
body ; in the true epileptic this phenomenon occurs spontaneously. The 
individual who feigns, throws his limbs about on all sides, shakes, 
trembles, struggles, but the play of the muscles is w^anting. 

5. Perhaps the most important symptom is the colour of the face, 
which in the true epileptic first becomes extraordinarily pale and then 
changes to bluish violet. The person feigning can never produce this 
paleness artificially, although many men can produce the lividity as often 
as they wish ^"5~s''''\ 

When a person under examination is seized w^ith an attack of epilepsy, 
true or false, it is above all necessary not to lose one's head ; for, as just 
stated, fright and emotion may produce a genuine seizure ; such fits 
therefore do occur from time to time, and in the case of the young 
Investigating Officer unaccustomed to such shocking sights, deprive him 
of all presence of mind and prevent calm observation. What he usually 
does in his otherwise excusable excitement, is to run about crying for 
help, looking for water, throwing himself about, so that when the medi- 
cal man questions him as to what he has observed, he is incapable of 
furnishing any information. If a case of epilepsy does occur, the Investi- 
gating Officer must, as a man, deal with it as genuine, affording the sick 
man such help as is usual in such cases. Care must be taken that the 
patient does not injure himself, by removing from his vicinity all angular 
objects ; he must be allowed fresh air and his tight-fitting clothes must 
be loosened ; the attempt must be made to introduce between his teeth 
some elastic body, a cork, a folded linen pad, wood, india-rubber, so that 
he may not bite his tongue, taking care that this gag does not slip in 
his mouth and choke him. Nothing else can be done; have patience an 
look out for signs of shamming ; sending at once for the medical man to 


succour the genuinely afflicted or unmask the hypocrite. But this must be 
remembered, that nearly, every true epileptic Hes, is violent, and bigoted. 

4. Shamming Paralyse. 

Dr. Forbes points out that physicians themselves are sometimes 
deceived by cases of sham Paralysis, and gives the following details 
of a particular case. 

'* A man was brought into hospital by a sympathetic policeman. He 
was able to state that, being on the top of an omnibus, he suddenly and 
completely lost all power in his right leg and arm. His speech was not 
much affected, nor were any unusual symptoms present. Here was a 
case apparently of paralysis of one side of the body. All might have 
gone well so far as the deception was concerned, had not one of the 
nurses recollected having seen the same man three weeks before suffer- 
ing from similar symptoms. Now, a case of genuine paralysis is never 
quickly recovered from, and suspicion was aroused. In genuine paralysis 
there are, of course, present various symptoms which affect different 
parts of the body. These symptoms are all in harmony with one 
another, and more or less interdependent. The man was, for instance, 
told to put out his tongue. It came out quite straight, but in genuine 
paralysis affecting the right side, for instance, the tip of that treacherous 
organ should distinctly diverge to the left. In this respect it would be 
out of the patient's control. Again, when the sole of the foot on the 
paralized side was tickled the man drew up his leg. This was a capital 
and fatal error, and showed a lesson but half learned. The leg should 
have remained quite motionless and insensible. In such cases at public 
institutions it is better to let the malingerer himself ask to be discharged. 
The treatment was simple in this case. The man asserted he had no 
feeling in the leg. It was gently but firmly explained to him that a hot 
iron passed along the course of the nerve always gave excellent results, 
and would in the case be quite painless. A pretty vigorous electric 
current was also applied. This treatment was so successful that the 
sufferer there and then decided to walk out, and that without assistance." 

5. Sham Fainting Fit's, 

To be able to recognize a pretended faint is most important for the 
Investigating Officer as the attack rarely lasts until the arrival of a 



medical man. The infallible sign of a genuine faint and one easy to 
observe is the extreme and sudden paleness, which, just before the attack, 
spreads not only over the face but also over the mucous membrane, lips, 
gums, etc. If this phenomenon be wanting the fit is a sham. For the 
paleness is not the consequence but the cause of the faint, it is nothing 
but lack of blood in the brain and head that brings on the attack and is 
indicated by the paleness. The eyes remain motionless, the pupils are 
generally strongly dilated, the eye does not move when touched, the 
winking of the eyelid ceases. 

The awakening from a true fainting fit is very different from the 
recovery from a feigned one. But special knowledge or at least consider- 
able experience is necessary to discriminate. For the amateur it must 
suffice to note the profound paleness which no one can produce artificially. 

There is a spurious fainting fit occurring almost wholly among 
women. A shock, anxiety, congestion of blood in the head, anaemia of 
the brain substance, is followed by a slight giddiness ; the brain follows 
suit, there is light-headedness, imagination, a little comedy in short. It 
is easiest and pleasantest to shut the eyes and sink down. The sufferer is 
pitied and a half-way definition is found : the condition is not a real faint, 
but it is not false. The English phrase, as characteristic as untranslat- 
able, comes to our aid, '' she fainted away." Eighteenth century writers 
called such attacks " the vapours." 

6. Prete7ided Insanity. 

It frequently happens that a person under examination makes himself 
out to be a bigger fool than he really is ; this is often very advantageous 
for the accused and some of the witnesses, but for the Investigating 
Officer it is as troublesome as dangerous. For the guilty man the 
advantage is twofold ; on the one hand he may hope not to be suspected 
of an offence requiring perhaps a considerable amount of ingenuity for its 
accomplishment ; and on the other hand he manages to be thought 
unable to understand a simple question, and so gains time for reflection. 
A similar pretence is perhaps quite as convenient to the witness who, 
for some reason or other, does not wish to speak the truth ; perhaps he 
wishes to shield the accused, perhaps he is afraid of compromising 
himself in telling the truth, perhaps he is afraid of contradicting another 
witness. However wearying and annoying such a pretence may be, an 
Investigating Officer of ordinary sharpness with a minimum of psycholo- 
gical knowledge will easily discover the trick. 


Two methods may be adopted but both lead to the same goal, proof 
of contradiction. In the one this contradiction occurs between different 
statements, some of which are deliberate and cunning, -while others are 
awkward and stupid. In the other the contradiction is found between the 
words and the expression in the eyes of the person interrogated. 

As to the former method, it will be difficult for the cleverest person, 
especially in -the course of a long examination, not to give, at least once, 
an intelligent answer. The Investigating Officer must know how to 
entangle a witness, provoke him about the case, lead him on to show 
himself in his true colours, and if he extracts but one answer more intel- 
ligent than the rest, he may safely conclude that the man is shamming. 

It is the same with the antagonism between look and word, between 
eye and mouth. No intelligent man has an idiot's eyes, and no idiot has 
intelligent eyes. The whole physiognomy, the deportment, the gestures, 
may deceive, the eyes never ; and whoever is accustomed to watch the 
eyes will never be taken in. 

It is true that what we call " the expression of the eyes " exists only 
partially in the eyes themselves ; the parts neighbouring on the eye 
produce the chief effect, and these parts can be transformed at pleasure 
by means of the corresponding muscles ; but this forced change cannot 
last long nor be mistaken for a genuine expression. A comedian of a 
most intelligent countenance, can often make himself look a thorough 
ass, but his eyes, despite all his art, will be never truly brutish for more 
than a few moments. 

If then we have the least suspicion that the person we are interrogat- 
ing is trying to make himself out a fool, we have only persistently to keep 
our eye on his, and however hard he tries to appear stupid and indifferent, 
he will be unable, especially if he finds himself cornered, to prevent at least 
one intelligent glance escaping. Kemember also that the shammer, when 
he thinks no one is looking, casts a swift and scrutinising glance on the 
Investigating Officer to see whether or not he believes him. If the In- 
vestigating Officer can catch but one of these glances, he can no longer 
have any doubt as to his man; if he be certain the man is shamming, he 
very speedily tells him straight that he is found out. The Investigating 
Officer will then explain to the suspect why he does not believe him, 
will impress upon him the consequences of the attitude he has assumed, 
will continue his examination without bothering about the pretended 
idiocy, and frame his questions to suit the inteUigence he may reasonably 
conclude the man to possess. 


7. Shammi7ig Catalepsy. 

Catalepsy, which in its extreme form is quite indistinguishable from 
ordinary death, always demands the intervention not alone of a medical 
man but of a medical expert in diseases of this nature. We quote two 
cases, cited by Dr. Litton Forbes, to show that even such unusual pheno- 
mena may easily come within the sphere of the Investigating Officer. 

*' A remarkable case of simulated catalepsy has recently been reported. 
A man condemned to death threw himself voluntarily into a cataleptic 
condition. Strong stimulants, such as ammonia applied to the nostrils, 
needles inserted into the body, and immersion in cold water, all failed to 
induce any response. At last alcohol was forcibly administered. This 
caused partial intoxication, disturbed the mental equilibrium, and so 
restored consciousness. Another remarkable case is that of a soldier 
in France whose death had been certified by the regimental surgeons. In 
due course they proceeded to make a post-mortem examination. The 
first incision, however, at once restored consciousness, and the now woun- 
ded man suddenly sat up, while the medical men rather ignominiouslyj 
ran away." In conclusion, it cannot be said that the Investigating 
Ofiicer goes beyond his legitimate sphere of action in unmasking suchj 
pretenders. The happiness or misery, the honour and liberty of a mai 
often depend upon the accuracy of a single deposition and the Investi- 
gating Officer is there to safe-guard the rights of everyone. He will bej 
grossly wanting in his duty, if he does not consecrate all his attention anc 
all his labour to compel the witness to speak the truth. 

Section iv.— Signs and Signals ^"s)^ 

By the word Signs — French, Signes — German, Zinken — every scoun- 
drel understands "a secret mode of communication" ^^"^^^ The great variety 
of these signs, their multifarious application, and their extended employ- 
ment render them of the greatest importance for the Investigating Officer ; 
they can elucidate for him facts which without their help would be 
insoluble enigmas. For example a robbery committed appears altogether 
impossible ; only one thief has been seen and caught, but he cannot be 
made responsible, as, for the commission of the offence, the co-operation of 
several persons was essential, and no connection can be discovered 
between him and others. Again, secret communications in prison may 
paralyse the greatest efforts of the Investigating Officer, who is unable to 
unravel these communications if he does not know the secret signs. 


Further we may lay it down as the duty of the Investigating Officer, 
especially in the country, to busy himself not only with the isolated cases 
which may come up before him, but also with everything which happens 
within his jurisdiction — as to the people wandering there and the ties by 
which such vagabonds are connected: if then any such individual com- 
mits an offence within his jurisdiction, the Investigating Officer, personally 
instructed as he is, will be able to supply his subordinates with useful 
information, to aid them in their inquiries. 

It will be a great satisfaction to the young Investigating Officer when 
an important case turns up, to find the police, abkari, forest, or reve- 
nue subordinates, etc., come full of confidence to apply to him, to get his 
help and be guided by him. It is just the minute study of the ways 
of criminals which will as a rule, enable an Investigating Officer in any 
special case, to advance surely and methodically ; after the crime, it is 
too late to study the ways of scoundrels, that must be done in time of 
peace. Any one. interested will find a mass of information in J. M. 
Wagne7''s Bothivelsche Sticdien ("Studies in Argot") ^^^\ We give a brief 

A. Graphic Signs. 

Graphic Signs are most interesting from every point of view and 
deserve special study ^^^^\ They carry us back to the old signs of incen- 
diaries and assassins, in vogue for centuries. They were originally used 
by bands of malefactors with extended ramifications, to designate houses 
[destined at an appointed time to be attacked, pillaged, and, if necessary, 
^burned after the slaughter of the inhabitants. They were usually simple 
|ia form, generally consisting of an oblique line with strokes at the sides, 
such as are to-day found in large numbers. Some of these signs are 
Icopied by Ludivig Bechstein, {'' Deiitsches Museum fur Geschichte'') ^^^^\ 
[Original works, containing incendiary signs and surviving to our day, are 
[care; the most interesting perhaps is a little work, — " Signs and words 
)f command of incendiaries, numbering 340, published in 1540 A. D. " 
This book includes several signs used to-day by wandering vagabonds, 
ilthough over four and a half centuries have elapsed since that date ^^^\ 

At first these signs were only a sort of mark for designating houses to 

)e burned or attacked, just as a forest-guard marks trees to be cut down. 

Thus an arrow with several oblique strokes showed a house to be burned, 

.n arrow with little circles at the end of the oblique strokes showed that 

he necessary combustibles were already to be found in the house. 


Later on there appeared, besides these objective signs, others of a 
subjective nature, which were merely a kind of coat of arms or crest 
of the person who bore it. This was the general tendency of the period. 
Just as the emblazoned bearings of the nobles enabled them to be recog- 
nized though concealed beneath their coats of mail, so the house marks 
designated the owner of the house and everyone dependent on him : 
masons, carpenters, and sculptors had also their emblems serving as 
distinctive marks of the master workman who had built a house (the 
"Mark Master Mason") or carved a statue; traders were also distin- 
guished by special marks, and the incendiaries made use of their signs to 
show that such and such a member of the band had been there and 
would return. These incendiary signs go very far back, certainly to the 
15th century at least. At the time of the reformation they were very 
common, and it was generally believed that the incendiaries were mem- 
bers of bands sent by the Pope into Germany to annihilate the Lutheran 
Eef ormers by fire and sword ^^*l M 

Incendiaries and their marks are met with most frequently duiing the 
Thirty Years War and at other times when brigands, vagabonds, and 
sharpers enjoyed complete freedom. One can hardly imagine the number 
of cases of robbery, murder, and incendiarism committed at this epoch. 
The descriptions found in the '' Simplicissimus,'' in Philander von Sitte- 
loald, in Alexander Smith, in Sigismund Hosman, and later in the lives 
of famous brigands (Lips Tullian, Sch?nule Schickel, Michl Hentzschl, 
Nickl List, Jonas Meyer, Schmuel Lohel, and many others) appear to us . 
to-day as horrible inventions of romance. 

An incendiary sign, dating from that epoch, has been preserved on 

^ 1 1 1 1 ^r the wall of a lonely chapel in the midst of 

the Thuringian Forest {Fig. 10). The 
first line is the summons, the second the 
response to the invitation. The former 
Fig. 10. means, " The fourth house from here in 

the direction of the arrow will be attacked on the night when the moon 
is next in its fourth quarter." To decipher this line it was not necessary to 
know how to read books, for any one could understand it ; and anyone 
who could understand it was welcome. Now all sorts of vagabonds 
passed that way ; they read the invitation, and each one who wished 
to have a share in the job added his mark with black lead, red chalky 
burnt stick, or a knife ; for every criminal had, and has to this day,^ 
mark known to all his friends. Thus we find in the lower line, a bird. 

> « ?Ql 




a die, a key, a pot, a chain, five marks of five incendiaries, and the 
organiser of the crime had only to come and look to be sm^e of the 
assistance of these five individuals. We shudder even to-day in thinking 
of the terrible significance of these marks, apparently so harmless ; but 
few among us know that the tamed offspring of these savage ancestors 
still exist, and make under our very eyes their marks, which are read 
and understood. 

We have only to observe closely chapels, farmhouses, crosses, palings, 
walls, especially in lonely places and at cross-roads, to find signs of 
criminals in abundance. Certainly they do not often now-a-days point 
to murder and incendiarism, but they indicate that such and such a 
comrade has been at the spot, alone or in company, on a certain date and 
that on a certain day he has departed in a certain direction. The most 
important indications for these birds of passage are those pointing out 
the houses where beggars are hospitably received ; the most dangerous is 
the intimation that a robbery is about to be committed in the neighbour- 
hood, and that assistance is required. A few of these signs may be 
usefully given here. 

Fig. 11 

Ave-Lallemant cites as examples: a key with an 
arrow — mark of the burglar {Fig. 11) ^^^^. 

Two crossed swords — mark of the beggmg student. '^^'^ y^^\^ 

Fig. 12. 

Cards with an arrow — mark of the wandering 

Fig. 18. 

Ave-Lallemant takes Fig. 14a as the sign of tramps in general; but it 
is badly copied and ought to represent 
a heart with three nails Fig. 14h. 
This is the ancient distinctive mark 
of the nail-maker, hence of the nail- 
maker on the tramp. The author 
was able personally to note this as 


Fig. 14. 
the sign of a nail-maker who subsequently took to the road. 



Figure i5 is the mark or sign of the tramp in general, it indicates 

only direction and date. The zeros stand 

jy^^^'^r^^iL^.^ iifU 5 j>^ for children, the long strokes for companions, 

-p' jr^ the half-stroke for the wife. The date 

4-12-'58. The mark sometimes differs in 
different countries, e.g., the strokes may be children and the zeros com- 
panions or accomplices. The following marks are taken from the 
author's own collection, formed over a series of years. 

Fig. 16. 
Figure 16. — A country scene with a fir tree, drawn without lifting the 
pencil or graver ; the very common mark of a famous tramp who had once 
been a landed proprietor. Such pictures traced with a single stroke ar« 
much favoured by malefactors and bear witness to their great antiquity 
They are met with especially during the transition period from the 15th 
to the 16th century. Alhrecht Bilrer had wonderful skill in this class of 
work ; and drew the magnificent designs on the borders of the prayer-book 
of the Emperor Maximilian. 

Figure 17. — The sign of a baker, signifying 
— ''I was here on 5-ll-'72, I shall return on 

Figure 18 is one of the most interesting the author has met with. 

The bird, drawn with a single stroke, 
represents a parrot, alluding to the 
great loquacity of the owner of the 
mark, who was a famous house- 
breaker. The second sign is a church, 
the third a key. Below, we see 
three round objects on a line ; this, 
according to the calendar of the 

Fig. 18. 



Styrian peasantry, is the emblem of St. Stephen, i.e., three stones placed 
on the ground, alluding to the martyrdom of the Saint by stoning. 
They here indicate the date, viz. St. Stephen's Day, 26th December. 
By the side is an infant in swaddling clothes, this indicates the birth of 
the Saviour, the date being 25th December. The whole thus means. The 
owner of the parrot sign intends to break into a church on 26th December. 
He desires accomplices, and will accordingly be in the neighbourhood of 
the sign (a lonely chapel in a wood) on 25th December to meet whoever 
turns up. The police, knowing the importance of the signs, took a copy 
to the Magistrate, a priest helped to interpret the liturgical emblems, and 
on Christmas day four dangerous criminals were captured near the chapel 
in the wood. 

Figure 19. — An open book, a broken baton, a human foot, and three 
dates. The interpretation is unknown. 

Besides these signs there are others in- 
tended to comnmnicate useful information 
to other wanderers. This shows clearly the 
comradeship, one might almost call it the 
organisation, existing among these vaga- /^^-^ ^g 

bonds; all the members render each other 

mutual services, without even knowing each other, in the hope at some 
other time of obtaining assistance in return. 


, ^, . Fig. 21. Fig. 22. Fig. 23. 

Fig. 20: 

Marks on houses lohere alms are or are not given. 
Ficure 20 is very common. An open hand signifies that one will 
find a enerous hand, in the 4th, 7th, 11th, and 20th houses to the right, 
and in the 8rd, 6th, and 10th to the left ; it is thus an indication that one 
may beg successfully at these houses. Sometimes a special mark is put 
on each house, to show if it is worth while stopping there to ask for 
alms. The sign is generally very simple u an empty circle, Fig. 21, shows 
that here something may be obtained, probably a coin ; a cross, Fig. 22, 
indicates that nothing can be had ; while a combination of the two signs. 
Fig. 23, means; "people do give something here, but nothing a tramp 





wants; i.e., you will only get a piece of bread, a glass of cider, potatoes, 
an egg, or something else to eat — no money. " 

Fig. 24. 
English criminal sign. 

Fig. 25. 
Tramps' signs. Fig. 26. 

Warning against the police. 

English criminals employ similar marks ^^^^\ Fig. 24 is found in 
England as well as on the continent and means that stolen goods can be 
disposed of at the house thus designated. Marks of a violin and flute, 
in their simplest forms, are also very common, B'ig. 26. The violin is a 
good sign, "people are bountiful"; here is an allusion perhaps to the 
old saying "the heavens are full of violins. " The flute means just the 
opposite, taken perhaps from the proverb, " you can come here to play 
the flute " — and no more. Figure 26 is a sign giving warning that the 
police are very active ; the signs speak for themselves. 

Sometimes also these signs are accompanied by other marks contain- 
ing a menace or a prophecy, or perhaps also 
inviting to join in an attack. Some years 
ago in Eastern Styria a gendarme was found 
murdered, his body being pierced with in- 
numerable stabs with knives. An inspection 
of the scene of offence showed that he had 
sat down by the road side to fill his pipe, — 
the tobacco spread out, the pipe half -filled. 
On account of his conscientious strictness, he was feared and hated by 
the tramps and gipsies, who had traitorously attacked and murdered hii 
in the manner indicated. A few days after his death there was foun 
on a ruined wall not far from the scene of the crime a rough drawing, 
Fig. 27, the meaning of which is evident. It was an easily recognise 
caricature of a face surmounted by the gendarme's plumed hat ; th 
military moustache is very typical. Eound the head four daggers are 
clearly drawn. 






The drawing was certainly not made after the murder, for it had been 
half effaced by rain and no rain had fallen between the day of the crime 
and the day of the discovery. Here was clearly a threat and call for 
help.; if the discovery had been made in time the officer could have been 
warned and thus saved his life, at least he would not have taken such a 
lonely night journey alone. This shows how carefully the places where 
such signs are likely to be found should be scrutinised and the signs 
themselves noted. 

But the old heraldic signs formerly used by criminals are being 
gradually supplanted by international written signs, which can be used 
anywhere. Just as heraldic ornaments and the distinguishing of houses 
by escutcheons and crests are disappearing, to be replaced by monograms 
without colour and without meaning, so the old original and interesting 
marks of criminals are disappearing. Nicknames take the place of the 
picturesque crest. This is of course due to the great modern spread of 
reading and writing. Thus inscriptions of the class shown in Fig. 28, 
are frequently found. 

•1/2, 8 C 



^ "-^9 




«8 ?» 

Fig. 28. Fig. 29. 

In contrast to this modern tendency we may cite criminal marks 
found in a mountainous and lonely district of Lorraine inhabited by well- 
to-do peasants, Fig. 29. All these were shown to belong to members 
of the same band, for the marks were all taken from the same book. 
According to this book, these signs mean : (1) Dminonium Mercurii ; 
(2) Intelligentia Saturni ; (3) Sign of the guardian angel for Saturday, 
called Cossiel. These marks are found in the " Pneiunatologia occulta et 
vera, " published at Salamanca ^^"^^ This celebrated book of magic pro- 
bably came into the hands of a band of rogues, who were so captivated 
therewith that the magic signs in it awoke from their sleep of centuries 
to a new life. 



Fig. 30. 

To this class also belong gipsy signs, which in some way or other 
indicate their presence in a neighbourhood, not only 
when they have made an innocent transit, but also 
when they have committed some crime ; in the 
latter case, however, they conceal the sigr . more 
carefully or mark them on places difficult to find. 
The most common mark is a shaded triangle, which 
is supposed to represent a harp ; it is generally found on houses where 
the gipsy has passed the night. {Figure 80). The gipsy also suspends 
strips of clothing from a house, a stake, a tree, etc. ; this is a certain 
sign that one of the fraternity has passed that way, and he has 
been able for centuries to make the country people believe that these 
rags are bewitched, producing diseases in the persons touching them ; 
hence no one is bold enough to lay hands on them and they remain 
there for the information of other gipsies as they come along. As a 
general rule this sign is found near cross-roads or wherever the gipsy 
following may be in doubt as to the route taken by the one in advance. 

At other times gipsies employ wands twisted together, branches, ov 
even blades of grass or straw, rolled one on the other. They take for] 
example the branch of a tree with three shoots, being careful to bend 
the middle branch in the direction to be taken ; or they place by the roadj 
side three stones, one on the top of another, a sign not likely to be; 
noticed by the initiated but quite plain to him who knows, Fig. 31, 32. 

iFig. 31. Fig. 32. 

Gipsy signs. » 

The author for a long time believed that these signs were special 
peculiarities of the gipsies, which they might have brought with them 
from their Indian home. This is however a mistake, as the German 
Sclionhacli has shewn. In an unprinted sermon, {Leipzig Manuscript, 
No. 496), of Berthold von Begenshiirg, who was without doubt the; 
greatest preacher of the Middle Ages, the speaker says: — "The devi 
does as the robbers, who put certain signs on the way, so that wanderer 
think they are on the right way while these signs lead straight to th 
den of the robbers. Of these signs there are three. Crossed twigs; 
stones placed together, and connected rods or briers." These are exactly 


the three last mentioned signs showing the gipsies' road and we must 
accept it that these signs aave for more than five hundred years been 
widely known and used among the common people, though they are now 
forgotten by these people and remembered only by the conservative gipsies. 
But even this acceptation must be limited by the fact that the use is 
specially of German origin. For evidence of this (pointed out also by 
Schojibach), see Gross, ArcMves^^^K As however the gipsies were certainly 
in Europe as early as 1417 A. D. and, if, as one theory makes out, they 
were fugitives themselves, they would naturally make common cause with 
the invaded inhabitants, it is just as likely that they were teachers as 
taught. The latest research on the subject is thus summed up by 
W. Crooke, {"Things Indian," 1906, i^. 247). 

" The connection between the European gipsies and the East is 
obvious from philological considerations alone. But the circumstances of 
their westward migration have long been disputed. On one theory their 
arrival in Europe, which is recorded for the first time in 1417, was due 
to the escape of fugitives before the armies of Timur, who reached India 
in 1398. Another suggestion connects them with a body of Jat minstrels 
imported from India to Persia by Bahram Gur about 420 A.D. , whence 
they gradually worked their way into Europe. A third theory identifies 
them with various Indian vagrants of the present day, such as Doms, 
Bediyas, or Nats. Lastly, Mr. F. H. Groome identifies them with a 
prehistoric body of wanderers from the East, who brought with them the 
art of working in bronze. On this view of the case, the modern gipsies 
may be akin to some of the present vagrant tribes, but the separation 
occurred at a very early period. 

*' Attempts have been made to identify the gipsies in a special way 
with two of these wandering tribes, the Changars and the Doms, the 
former name being supposed by some to be the origin of the title 
"Zingari," the latter of " Komani." The Changars, whose name is sup- 
posed by Leitner to mean "grain-sifters," are a vagrant tribe of the 
Panjab — the men employed in agriculture, and particularly in reaping, 
and the women in sifting and cleaning grain. The Doms or Dums are a 
widespread race, found all through North India. The best group of them 
is found in the Lower Himalaya, where they are mostly respectable 
artisans. The Diim-Mirasi, if he be really identical with these people, 
his a wandering minstrel. The Dom of Behar is a foul outcast, a scaven- 
|ger, and eater of carrion, and is employed on the duty, odious to the 
Hindu, of providing the fire for cremation." 


If along the road there should be sand or bare earth or snow, the 
gipsies make their marks on the ground, which are clear but of course not 
lasting ; as a rule, they make three strokes, the middle being the longer 
and indicating the direction in which they have gone. Fig. 3'2. 

A list of gipsy signs has been published by von Wlislocki ^^^^^ Tlieodor 
Seelmann and Heinricli Glucksman7i^^^^\ The latter declares that gipsies 
of a certain stock, and particular gipsies of that stock, have special 
signs (hairs of animals, rags, bits of wood, etc.) as if they were 
families of tribes. These signs are combined with others, in order to 
give information to stray gipsies. The personal sign, for instance, 
partly covered with cow dung, gives warning of police ; human ex- 
crement betokens success and luck; an elder twig — illness; a half-burnt 
elder twig, with straw — a death ; a fir-twig — an engagement ; a willow- 
twig — a birth ; an oak-twig — the return of a traveller, or an arrested 
comrade ; a birchen rod — a capture by the police. Skin or leather 
cuttings notify a person to hurry to a rendez-vous. Holes in the leather 
betoken a town, when square, — if round, a village. If, for instance, two 
round, one square, and again one round hole are found in a piece of 
leather, then the gipsy must pass through two villages and one town in 
order to reach the next village — the place of meeting. Pig's bristles 
portend approaching luck, the hairs of dogs danger and insecurity, frag- 
ments of glass a dead animal. To understand the somewhat startling 
science of gipsy fortune-telling and card prophecy, one must also pay 
attention to the graphical signs which the wanderers draw on the walls of 
houses, either with a nail or a bit of coal — figures the inhabitants do not 
notice, as they are scarcely distinguishable from the marks made by time, 
wind, or weather ; but which to those who have the necessary knowledge 
are of extreme importance. According to Wlislocki, a cross means that 
there is nothing to be had ; a double cross — rough usage ; a circle — liberal 
treatment ; a double circle — unusually benevolent people ; two longitudinal ; 
lines, and over these two cross-lines — the home of a Magistrate or an In- 
vestigating Officer ; a double circle and under it two lines — a theft of which 
gipsies are suspected; a vertical line — the joyful news **Here we have 
found" (that is "stolen"); a triangle — "Here by cards or fortune-telling. 
money may be made " ; a circle over a cross urges to a deed of reveng( 
two serpentine lines show the desire of the woman of the house to ha^ 
children ; two vertical lines bound together by one serpentine line shoi 
that the woman will have no more children ; two serpentine lines through' 
a circle betoken the death of an old woman ; through two circles, the death 


of an old man ; points in a circle show inheritance through death ; a ser- 
pentine line cutting a triangle — the death of householder ; two such lines 
through the same figure — the death of householder's wife ; a serpentine 
line through two circles — the unfaithfulness of the wife ; a circle betw^een 
two serpentine lines — the unfaithfulness of the husband ; a vertical with 
a horizontal line under it, and under this again a circle — matrimonial 
designs, etc. It is easy to see that these signs are very useful in fortune- 
telling and card prophecy, and it is worth while to notice the camaraderie 
of these people who help one another, expecting in the same way to be 
helped in turn. 

All these gipsy signs are certainly met with among other tramps, but 
they prove that the man employing them, if not a gipsy himself, is at 
least in close touch with gipsies and has become practically one of 

These marks of criminals must not be confounded with those of 
peripatetic grinders, made on the houses where they have received scissors, 
knives, etc., to sharpen. There is no doubt that their marks closely 
resemble those of criminals and trace their origin to the times when 
knife-grinders, who were also generally umbrella-menders, were wont to 
wander along the roads in company with tramps of all sorts. When 
then a grinder has collected during the day a number of knives and 
scissors, all so much alike, it would be impossible for him to return 
them to the true owners without a special mark for each house (such as 
dyers, laun^drymen, and dhobies use). These marks often furnish a use- 
ful meinoria technica, they are curious and sometimes ancient, but their 
only importance for us is to distinguish them from true criminal signs. 
When we are in doubt, we must ask the first grinder we meet, whether 
perambulating or stationary ; for each knows accurately the marks used 
by other grinders. 

A curious and somewhat impertinent sign which was at one time 
.believed by the author to be purely local, but is now shown (by Klaus- 
\mann of BerlinS^^^^) to be very wide-spread, is that of a human caricature 
followed by three marks of interrogation. The plain meaning of the 
j3ign, wherever it has been discovered, is unmistakeable : "Where is the 
ihief ? Can't you catch him? " 

B. Hand Signals. 

Signals or signs made by the hands, as means of communication 
()etween malefactors, constitute a complete alphabet, the letters being 


formed by the different positions of the fingers ; sometimes the ordinary 
well-known deaf-and-dumb alphabet is employed. But this alphabet is 
not identical in all countries and though the changes are not in essential 
constituents, yet they are sufticient to prevent the deaf and dumb of 
different countries communicating with each other by this means. It 
is said to be different in the case of criminals, who have so altered 
the alphabet as to make it in a sense international. Be this as it may, 
the important thing for the Investigating Officer is not so much to 
understand the alphabet employed, as to realize the fact of its existence, 
to know that two accomplices can carry on a conversation from the 
prison windows across a wide courtyard. If this fact be borne in mind, 
he will be spared many surprises arising from an unexpected harmony 
between the statements. The Investigating Officer who does not bother 
himself about these communications, or thinks it beneath his dignity to 
take account of them, hot only makes himself ridiculous when he comes 
to interrogate the suspects but conducts his inquiry merely as a matter 
of form, for the sake of appearances, and so fails in the performance of 
his duty. 

Another mode of communicating with the hands is to write slowly in 
the air with the fingers words that a quick observer can easily read ^^^^\ 

All such modes of communication are specially employed during those 
"confrontations," or bringing of the parties face to face, which many 
persons are so enamoured of, but which the present writer considers both 
insufferable and dangerous. One may confront honest and unsuspected 
witnesses ; a mistake leading to grave consequences may thus often be 
readily cleared up, and also fresh starting points may thus be obtained 
which repeated interrogatories could never furnish. But, beyond that, 
" confrontations " have many drawbacks and at most afford an easy way 
of getting out of a corner by simplifying the rest of the inquiry. Who- 
ever knows with what ease and rapidity two malefactors can come to a 
thorough understanding by means of their secret alphabet will take care 
not to let them have such a simple and easy means of communication ; 
at the moment of the confrontation and during the preparation of the 
record, they will perfectly comprehend each other, in spite of the strict- 
est supervision. 

In the widest sense of the word, these " signals " include every kind 
of mutual understanding, arrived at by means not comprehended by the 
uninitiated. These understandings, often leading to serious consequences, 
are arrived at when prisoners are allow^ed to communicate with their 


relations and friends, even under the very eyes of the Investigating 

Officer. Often the latter will be astonished at the explosive violence 

with which persons, deemed absolutely incapable of any emotion, throw 

themselves on each others necks, weep, cry out, express their feelings in 

the midst of renewed embraces, until the Investigating Officer thinks 

this exhibition of grief has lasted long enough and separates the weeping 

)articipants. Generally the only object of all this scene is to slip into 

the possession of the accused, a letter, a file, or some other small object, 

)r to whisper in his ear hints for his defence or the name of an alibi 

dtness. On the other hand the accused may slip over to the visitor 

3ome small object which he has hitherto been able to conceal, or in turn 

[to whisper some words in his ear. 

Ave-Lallemant relates the case of the concubine of a prisoner who 
passed from her mouth to his a piece of gold, with which he shortly 
afterwards attempted to bribe the warder. The same writer suggests, 
and on good grounds, that the infants women bring with them are often 
dangerous ; it is not surprising that the prisoner should spend a long 
time nursing and caressing his child, but at the same time he takes care 
to secure all the objects which the infant is made use of to convey. 

True a certain amount of smartness is required to thus give and 
receive, in spite of the close supervision exercised over prisoners ; but 
those who are dangerous are not precisely the unskilful ones, and all 
possess more or less the cleverness of the pickpocket. 

To prove the adroitness of these gentry, an example may be given 
to show how readily such exchanges may be effected. A police official 
one day informed us that he had something interesting to communicate. 
On going to the lock-up we found a pick-pocket who, having just 
completed a sentence of imprisonment, was about to be handed over 
to a foreign power. The criminal had been ill, and well-cared for by the 
authorities, and on the eve of his extradition had offered to " show some- 
thing." This "something" was then shown. The speciality of our man 
was to ask for "a light." The prisoner asked one of the company to 
place an object like a pocket-book in the inside pocket of his frock-coat 
but without buttoning it ; then the victim was requested to light a cigar 
and hand one to the experimenter. The latter, in a natural manner, 
threw his great coat over his arm, and advancing with a polite bow 
requested a light for his cigar. The person addressed, consented, keeping 
all the time an eye on the book that represented the pocket-book. The 
man took a long time to light his cigar and was very clumsy over the job. . 
;: 43 



The cigar would not catch fire, and the other party had to take two or 
three strong pulls at his, to give more fire and make the lighting easier. 
At last the cigar burned ; the thief made another polite bow and retired, 
but the book was no longer in the pocket. The hand under the great '■ 
coat had worked so cleverly that the book was extracted without the 
slightest contact being felt. It was certainly remarkably clever to distract 
the attention of a person fore-warned, by a show of pretended clumsiness. 
How easy it must be then for criminals of this nature to transfer objects 
when both parties are active and can warn each other by a glance, a sign, 
a movement, that there is something to give or to take. 

But even the over-prudent Investigating Officer who deems he has 
avoided all danger by forbidding, "embraces, handshakings," etc., 
cannot prevent these people from communicating with each other by 
signals, glances, movements of the hands, etc.; the communication may 
be short and swift, but will convey everything essential and compromise 
the success of the inquiry. A single moment may cause the irrevocable 
loss of all the trouble taken, all the skill employed. 

Among the modes of communication reference may be made to the 
secret waiting of prisoners. Everyone knows that this writing exists, 
for persons even use "sympathetic" or invisible ink for perfectly inoffensive 
purposes. These inks are solutions of salts of cobalt, copper, iron, etc., 
sulphuric acid and water, milk, urine, etc. Some of these are not worth 
much from the present point of view, as they necessitate the use of 
chemicals both for writing and for reading w^hat is written. The prisoner i 
under lock and key will not find it easy to find chloride of cobalt or| 
protochloride of iron to write with, nor a solution of gall-nuts to enabk 
him to bring the writing to light. Only substances easily procured ar( 
dangerous and important ; such are, as concerns writing coming int( 
prisons, all inks that become visible by heating, rubbing with burnt paperj 
ashes, dust, etc., for such agents are easily found in every prison. Ifi 
e.g., one writes with a solution of chloride of cobalt, the gentle heat of 
stove or of a burning match will make the writing appear, at least foi 
the moment. If the writing be made with a solution of gum arabic, on( 
has only to breathe on the letter and then rub it with ashes or dust, an( 
the written characters stand out quite distinctly. The breath causes thi 
gum on the surface to become sticky, and the dust thus adheres to th( 
gummy characters but not to the paper. Evidently the necessary in^ 
gredients, especially dust, are found in all prisons. 

Particularly dangerous inks are such as can be made to appear an< 



disappear several times ; the accused can thus read them over and over 
again ; he can also with this ink make notes of things he does not wish 
to forget, and even carry them about with him. Whenever he wants 
to refresh his memory he can do so at his ease. Such inks are very 
numerous; the best, and best known, is that called " Weidmafin's" ink — 
one part of linseed oil, eight parts of liquid ammonia, a hundred parts 
of water. Before writing, this ink must be well shaken and the paper 
moistened, when the writing will be visible but will disappear when 
dry. Another ink, easy to prepare and consequently much used, is the 
following : copper is dissolved in hydrochloric acid, a little azotate of 
potassium is added, and the whole diluted with water, until the writing 
obtained is no longer visible. Everytime the paper is heated the writing 
starts up in dark yellow, completely disappearing when cold. 

Great attention should be paid to writings of this kind and it nmst 
not be forgotton that such secret intimations are generally found between 
the lines of documents otherwise perfectly harmless. 

Letters coming out of prison are almost always written either with 
urine or with milk ; the writing is easily made clear by heating or rubbing 
with dust. Such communications generally pass between one prison 
and another, but are also sent to the outside world. Even when the very 
natural precaution is adopted of not allowing the prisoner to write except 
under the supervision of the warder, it may be possible to change the 
paper for another on which he has previously written with urine, or to 
scribble without being observed a few words with urine during the formal 
writing of the letter. The author knows of the case of a female prisoner 
who, while waiting in the ofhce of the Superintendent of the Jail himself, 
moistened a small piece of pointed wood with milk from her own bosom, 
and thus inscribed several lines between those written in ink. There are 
two expedients to get over these tricks ; to heat every letter that enters or 
leaves a prison or, better still, to let nothing either come in or go out. 

The first method should be always employed ; the second should be 
adopted in all important cases. When a letter arrives addressed to an 
accused under detention, he should be sent for, the letter should be read 
to him, several times if he desires it, but should never be handed over to 
him ; the fact of reading the letter should be entered on the record and 
the former attached to it. In this there is an additional advantage ; no 
paper enters the prison, and it is well-known that the margins and backs 
of letters are often used for fresh correspondence. When a letter of a 
person under detention is to be sent out of a prison, the letter should 



be carefully copied and then compared and signed by the prisoner in 
presence of the Superintendent or the Magistrate himself ; the original 
should be attached to the record and the copy posted. 

But in spite of every precaution we may be taken in, as the following 
case will prove : the proprietor of a small piece of forest land was sus- 
pected for many years of receiving stolen property and conveying it 
across the frontier. He was arrested, his wife being allowed to remain 
at liberty ; she was under her husband's orders, could not be suspected 
of wishing to run away, and had in the house several little children, one 
being an infant at the breast. The man at his first examination denied 
everything but expressed a strong desire to speak to his wife. In spite 
of the distance she was accordingly brought to the courthouse. The 
unusual insistence of the man appeared suspicious ; accordingly an inter- 
view was refused, but the prisoner was allowed to send any message he 
chose to the woman. After a lot of bother, he stated that all he wanted 
to say to his wife was, that she should look well after the cattle, as he 
had done until his arrest, and see that they had plenty nourishment. 
This apparently harmless message was accurately communicated to the 
wife. But doubts remained and the same day a police constable was 
sent to see the cattle possessed by the couple. His report was that they 
possessed three goats and a half-starved horse, used for carrying the 
stolen property across the border. Undoubtedly the Investigating Office] 
had been humbugged and been made the agent of conveying an ambi- 
guous and disastrous message. The matter remained an enigma for 
long time. Later on the Investigating Officer had in confinement 
young woman who had grown up among gipsies and had been taught t( 
steal with great skill. A great deal of interest was taken in the girl 
because it was suspected that she had been stolen when a child, althougl 
inquiries as to her origin proved fruitless. She showed her gratitud( 
for the interest taken in her and the kindness shown her by giving 
great deal of hitherto unknown information about the manners am 
customs of the gipsies, and among other matters about their doubly 
speech. Asked as to the meaning of the expression *' feed the cattle, 
the girl said it meant locally " deceive the officers of the law and admiJ 
nothing. " Thus the meaning of the message from husband to wife wa| 
" I have admitted nothing ; do not you admit anything, on any consider^ 
ation. " Of course the language of swindlers and thieves is full 
ambiguous expressions, most of which are however perfectly well-knowi 
Another mode of communication is by means of letters deeply cut ii 


wood. Thus if letters be deeply graven in soft, smooth wood, so that 
the deeply cut characters form together a word or phrase, and if, above 
these characters, the wood be scraped with a sharp knife or better still a 
piece of glass until the writing is no longer visible on the surface, it may 
be made to reappear by soaking the wood. In fact, the fibres of the 
wood, where pressure has been exerted to form the letters, remain 
compressed, although no trace of the compression is visible to the naked 
eye. If therefore the portions of wood thus compressed be soaked in 
water, they swell and the writing stands out clearly in relief. Any wood 
may be used, but the finer the grain (as maple or pear) the better the 
chance of success. Accordingly every morsel of wood coming from out- 
side must be examined, as the handles of brushes, combs, and mirrors, or 
of tools, boxes containing provisions, etc. In one case the writing was 
on a wooden spoon, and only appeared when the spoon was put in the 
soup. It was represented that the individual was "so accustomed" to 
this spoon ; and no difficulty was therefore raised to his using this 
" harmless " utensil. 

Of another kind of communication the following example may be 
given. In a big affair, twenty eight persons were arrested ; the cells were 
limited in number and it was quickly seen that the persons under deten- 
tion communicated with each other in various ways. The inquiry was 
seriously interfered with and military supervision was requisitioned ; 
accordingly soldiers did sentrygo night and day in the corridors. This 
supervision was at first successful, but after a few days it was seen that 
the answers of the accused were changing all round — they were evidently 
again in communication. The Superintendent of the Prison went on 
watch himself and observed that from the peephole, or inspection hole, 
of each cell, left purposely open to render supervision more easy, a hand 
was protruded as the soldier passed and deposited a small article on the 
top of his cartridge-pouch, hanging on his back. As the soldier passed 
the next cell, another hand appeared, removed the object placed on the 
cartridge-pouch, and so on : thus the soldier guards were the innocent 
means of communication between the prisoners. As they had no paper, 
the prisoners used scraps of linen torn from their shirts. The only pen- 
cil they had travelled with the letter, and all the world could use it. 

C. Signals of recognition. 

These are essentially international and enable members of the criminal 



classes to recognise each other anywhere. Wherever they may be, in a hotel, 
in a shop, at church, on the railway, in prison, if two members of the 
criminal classes meet it is important that they should recognise each other 
at once, so that they may act together, or not interfere with each other, 
or perhaps not try their games on each other ; a card-cheat, for example, 
only wastes his time in endeavouring to entrap another cheat. For the 
Investigating Officer it suffices to know that these signals exist, are 
known, and understood wherever criminals congregate. If an Investi- 
gating Officer ignores this fact, he will be continually meeting strange 
things he cannot explain. For example a man is accused of having 
attempted to rob a fellow passenger in a railway carriage. The accused 
in his defence pretends that it was impossible for him to make such an 
attempt as a ''gentleman" was seated opposite to him who would have 
seen everything ; and besides he would not have dared to steal under the 
very eyes of the gentleman. The latter had continued his journey to an 
unknown destination ; but could not be an accomplice as he had got into 
the train half-a-day before the accused. One might perhaps believe this 
story, did not one know that a single movement of the hand exchanged 
between the two was enough to assure them that neither had anything to 
fear from the other. 

x\gain, in a hotel, a swindler sells something false as genuine, pretend-J 
ing to be absolutely honest, so nmch so that two perfect strangers an 
greatly taken with the article, declaring they would have bought it, if th< 
dupe had not previously practically completed his purchase. True enoug] 
the two men are strangers but just as truly a single sign enables them t( 
play the game of the cheat. 

It is exactly the same with card-sharpers, who assemble, especia.lly oi 
market days, in hotels and other places of public resort, and immediateh 
assist each other though they may have never met before. They pla^ 
with each other a harmless game, in which now one, , now another win{ 
This works admirably and the people about gain confidence. Or thei 
play at guessing puzzles, and the guesser generally gains although he wh^ 
has propounded the puzzle declares it insoluble. They play, at first, onll 
for love, but when the spectators get excited and join in, they play n.\ 
longer for love but for the hard won money of the countryman, wl 
suspects nothing and loses everything. Or one plays while an accomplicj 
sits behind his partner and indicates the cards held. In any event thi 
recognition prevents a swindler from wasting his time in trying to du] 
another member of the fraternity. 


Fig. 33. Fig. 34. 

The signals employed are numerous ; among the Roman nations, 
especially among Italians and French, a great number are recognized, 
Pitre^^^^ {"Archives de Lombroso," IX., 1888) has collected 48 signals 
of recognition employed by Italian criminals alone. P'or our purpose the 
two here illustrated are the most important, being known by all the 
scoundrels of the civilised world for centuries; Fig. 33 is most commonly 
used in the North of Europe, Fig. 34 in the South. 

By taking note of these signals we can understand how certain crimes 
which we have refused to credit become possible ; we were sure they 
could not be carried out without accomplices and we could discover no 
trace of connection with third parties. 

Another signal, of less interest to the Investigating Officer but of 
great importance to criminals, consists in closing one eye and squinting 
with the other towards the nose. It is a piece of face play we all know, 
and often indulge in as a joke, to show some secret understanding. In 
the life of a swindler the sign is of great importance and often forms the 
starting point of a more or less prolonged partnership in crime. 

It must be remembered that the " friendships " of these gentry do 
not generally last long. There are many causes leading to the disruption 
of harmony between them — the division of the spoil, suspicion of 
treason, difference of views as to the mode of carrying out a scheme, 
jealousy of the superior cleverness of one, discontent at the clumsiness of 
the other, etc. Often too they are dispersed as a consequence of the 
miscarriage of some plot, by imprisonment for different periods of 
detention, and other accidents. Besides it is not to their interest to 
remain too long in company, for the foregathering of a number of 
persons, who enjoy a bad reputation with the authorities, is suspicious 
and attracts an amount of supervision most disagreeable to them. Thus 
there is a continual changing in criminal partnerships ; they unite for one 
or two schemes, share the danger, the booty, and the secrets, and sepa- 
rate never to meet again. Thus they are always under the necessity of 
seeking new accomplices, and for that only a little address is required. 



Men pursuing the same aim, whether good or bad, meet and recognize 
each other easily, we might almost say instinctively. This phenomenon 
is based to some extent on om* knowledge of .ourselves. Each of ur 
knows to some extent his own qualities, and easily recognises them in 
others. An observer will quickly perceive that ardent huntsmen re- 
cognise each other as quickly as pederasts, that chess players and men 
of science will take to each other as quickly as gamblers and tap-room 
companions ; so one sharp will pick out another among hundreds of 
honest men. A wink of the eye to make sure one is not deceived, a 
response of recognition — and the same evening they commit a robbery in 
company ; both alike risk their liberty, but each is absolutely sure of the 
devotion of his new comrade. This is the only explanation of the 
inconceivable rapidity with which those people make friends who come 
no one knows whence, and who have hardly arrived before they are 
found working hand in hand. 

We may here recall the report of a police officer upon a big house- 
breaking, which stated that the author could be no other than a famous 
operator, who had always a very characteristic plan of operations, were it 
not that he had been released from a long period of imprisonment only 
two days before ; and could not therefore have had the time to recruit the 
three or four accomplices absolutely necessary for the commission of the 
offence. Accordingly he let the man slip quietly away, and only later 
was it proved that he had organised the robbery ; one of his accomplices 
admitted that he had found and enlisted his assistants by this sign. 

D. Acoustical Signs. 

These may be divided into two classes — 

1. Calls and cries of wanmig. 

" Calls " consist almost exclusively of imitation of the cries of animals 
especially those that are accustomed to make a noise at night. Naturally 
persons planning a night attack on a person in a forest or jungle, or n 
night attack on a house, do not call to each other by name or make any 
noise that would attract attention. The cry of an animal, especially when 
well imitated, is never suspected, and when there is a previous unde 
standing it is as certain a call as the names themselves. 

Thus is imitated the crowing of a cock, the pipe of the quail, the 




croaking of a frog near water, or of a toad, but above all the hooting of 
the owl. Owls are everywhere, in the forests, in the fields, in the 
mountains, in the marshes, in isolated spots and close to human dwellings. 
Early in the evening. as well as before dawn, the cry of the owl is never 
suspected ; it is even used in broad day by hunters summoning each 
other to the woods. No animal fears it, white men have a superstitious 
dread of the hoot of the owl ; hearing it they will sooner stop their ears 
than watch their pockets. According to the distance, the hoot of the 
kSmall barn-owl {Strix Scops) or that of the great night-owl (Strix Noctua) 
ris used (see Fig. 35). 

This matter may be important. When the question is whether an 
attack in a forest or a house-breaking « ^ 

has been committed by one man or by • — ^ ^ ^~~ ^ '^- 

several as accomplices, the witnesses 

should be asked whether shortly before 

or after the crime they have not heard 

the hoot of an ow^l. If the answer be 

in the affirmative, it will be a strange Y ^ ^^^ ^^^^ 

coincidence if just at the time and t^- . o^ 

place of the crime an owl should have 

been hooting. Watchmen of all kinds should also keep their ears open 

for such sounds. 

As for cries of warning, all kinds of noises are made use of ; as a rule 
they are heard only when things are going amiss and the only resource 
left is flight : for this a very distinctive convention is necessary, a whistle, 
a clapping of the hands, a loud cough, is enough as a signal of danger. 

In each country, and in each division of every country (as in North 
and South Germany), special words have become appropriated to such 
purposes. These belong more particularly to the argot of the various 
districts and it would be of no practical use to make an enumeration of 
them here ^597-599)^ 

2. Phonetic communication in prison. 

This means of communication is more wide-spread and more danger- 
ous than ordinarily believed. It is generally imagined that it is impossible 
for criminals to transmit long and precise messages to each other ; short 
communications it is supposed are useless, and not worth wasting time 

Kf^^f^x. Such an opinion shows that a man has never known his own 



prison, tliat he has never taken into account the consequences of such 
correspondence, in short that he is a silly dupe. 

Take the situation of an accused under remand, who has nothing to 
do but to sleep or to wake as the humour takes him; who has nothing 
to think about but his case ; who knows that prudence and a reasonable 
explanation can alone save him ; what is most important to him is to 
come to an understanding with a co-accused, so that both should stick 
to the same story ; or to get another prisoner about to be released to 
undertake to find him witnesses for an alibi, to cause the traces of the 
crime to disappear, or even to remove the corpus delicti to a place of safety. 

Of course there is no great mischief done when a young peasant w^ho 
has killed a hare to make a pair of breeches of the skin gets by chance 
into communication with a servant who has stolen a silver watch ; but it 
is otherwise with two dangerous criminals whose conviction will be a 
boon to society. The whole life of these people is spent in gaining an 
existence by illegal methods, in avoiding justice, and, when they are caught, 
in recovering their liberty ; they know how to profit by the slightest chance 
of intercommunication ; all their thoughts, all their efforts are directed 
to the discovery of " the little loophole," that is necessary to them. 

Whoever will take the trouble carefully to study prison life, will very 
quickly learn how things go on, even in the best managed establishments.* 
Near the doors and the windows, by day and by night, in the cells or a1 
the walking exercise, one hears phrases, words, numbers, inarticulate 
sounds ; which prove that noises have been heard, for otherwise th< 
system would not be carried on so methodically. The most extraordinary 
stories are told as to means of communication employed. One mai 
pretended to be a fool and uttered nothing but numbers ; in the neigh^ 
bouring gallery another man was wicked enough to mock the poor fool 
when the one below had finished bawling out his numbers, the mai 
above commenced his mocking. And so they went on time aboul 
When at last it was discovered that the two were carrying on a converj 
sation, it was too late. 

In another prison two very pious Jews were confined who dail] 
chanted Hebrew melodies. But the peculiar thing w^as that they nevej 
sang at the same time so as to interfere with each other : it was onlj 
found out later by chance that the pair were communicating by means of 
their chants and psalms and that they had been able to tell each othe:] 
everything they wished. 

When persons under detention sing in prison, everyone is quit] 


pleased : the prisoners are assumed to have nothing to complain about 
and they are permitted to sing away to their hearts' content ; but no one 
pays any attention to the meaning of their songs. But if the Investigat- 
ing Officer would take the trouble to bestir himself, he would be surprised 
to find that the text, or 'motif,' of the songs is some portion of the in- 
vestigation. Signals, and not unimportant ones, are made by whistling : it 
is said that by practice persons can thus come to understand each other 
perfectly. This is quite possible : one has only to consider the wide vogue 
of the system " Hakeseii,'' that is, communication by the means of blows 
struck on an object. In certain countries the practice became so extended 
and common that completely new buildings had to be erected at great 
expense. Cells were built with triple walls, and Ave-LaUeinant says 
that once at Weimar clocks were placed in the prison corridors, so that 
the vibratory sound of the pendulums should interrupt the communica- 
tions of the prisoners among themselves. The most interesting example 
is that of the unfortunate Frang v. Spaun who, towards the end of the 
18th century, was confined as a " state prisoner " for ten years at Muksez 
and Kufstein. He had discovered that a certain Frenchman (afterwards 
Duke and Minister) was confined in the next cell and wished to commu- 
nicate wuth him. He began by knocking frequenth- on the wall, but 
always '24 blows at a time, until his neighbour came to understand that 
the 24 knocks designated the 24 letters of the alphabet. After this res- 
ponse, Spaun commenced knocking, once, twice, thrice, etc., until the other 
understood that these meant a, b, c, etc. Thus in a short time the two 
could perfectly understand each other and talk freely. The Frenchman 
was released before Spaun, but did not forget him and later on procured 
him a pension. It is said that Spaun went to see the Frenchman at 
Munich and began to knock on the door as of old. "It is either Spaun 
or the Devil," cried out the Frenchman. Ave-Lallemant declares that 
at the present time the Morse telegraphic alphabet is in common use in 
prisons, the dash and dots being represented by sharp and prolonged 
knocks. When we remember the many persons, besides telegraphic 
employes, such as railway clerks and other railway servants, night watch- 
men, etc., who are acquainted with the telegraphic alphabet or at least 
have opportunities of becoming acquainted with the system, when we also 
consider that these signals are to be found in every popular treatise on 
physics, we can understand how easy it is for criminals to come. to an 
agreement as to the use of this alphabet ; thus anyone in any prison can 
always telegraph by the Morse system. 


It is a good plan for superintendents and warders when they hear 
this knocking to knock back ; this will at least interrupt the communica- 
tion : it should always be done when a new prisoner is brought in ; the 
ultimate result being that intercommunications are thrown into utter 

It is stated that prisoners confined on the same story often communicate 
in the following way : they lie down flat on their faces on the floor and 
speak slowly and distinctly along the planks. If the person in the other 
cell, however far away, places his ear to the plank, he can hear perfectly 
everything said. Of course for this the co-prisoners must have a previous 
understanding and must also have arranged the hours of the interviews. 
It is certain that correspondence can be thus carried on ; one has only 
to think of the incredible distances at which one can hear the sound of 
cannon, the galloping of horses, the tread of men, etc., when the ear is 
applied to the ground. It can also be tested in practice, by trying it in 
our own houses between rooms most distant from each other ^^^' ^^K 

3. Marks of Stigmata on the Face. 

'' To stigmatise" is to place a mark on the person of a criminal who 
has been guilty of treason to his fellows. In old times, among bands of 
criminals, spies and traitors were killed outright or tortured until death 
ensued. Later they were beaten and left half-dead in the street, with 
a vertical cut on one cheek and sometimes on both cheeks. A cut on the 
cheek heals quickly and leaves no mark when the edges of the wound are 
accurately brought together and sewn up, as is done after students' duels. 
But if the wound be not thus carefully treated, it remains gaping and 
results in a large fleshy scar, which continues red for a long time. If then 
a criminal perceives such a scar on the cheek of one of his associates, he 
knows to beware of him. But the Investigating Oflicer also will be on 
the look-out when he has to do with a man with a villainous face and a 
cheek disfigured by a great scar. 

Some assert that these stigmata are very rare at the present time, and 
Ave-Lallemant avers that he has only seen one man, an old Jew, so 
marked. This may perhaps be true for the North of Germany, but in 
Austria and Eastern Europe the thing is common enough, especially 
among gipsies. The author has frequently had to do with gipsies oi 
both sexes bearing marks which, by their own admission, were those o\ 
" stigmatisation ". The admission itself does not go for much, as the 
marks are there to speak for themselves. 


Not far from the Hungarian frontier is a district infested with gipsies. 
In the east of this district is a poHce station. The station-house officer, 
a middle-aged man, very active and intelHgent, had by long experience 
acquired a most intimate acqaintance with gipsy customs — the way he 
travels, the route he follows, the neighbourhoods where he steals, how he 
gets his information, what he steals, how he gets clear away, where he sells 
his booty, in fact all the special customs of the gipsies were as well known 
to him as if he had lived with them for years. Of course this station- 
house officer was equally well-known to the gipsies, and so feared by 
them that he had become practically useless at that station. He was 
accordingly transferred to another district equally ill-famed for the 
numerous house-breakings committed by gipsies. 

One day a gipsy came to this station-house officer and endeavoured 
by mysterious cries to enlist his confidence : at last he showed a fresh scar 
on his cheek, stating that his comrades had unjustly accused him of 
treason and thus stigmatised him ; now out of revenge he desired to 
become a traitor in real earnest ; and offered himself as a spy in the service 
of the station-house officer. The latter accepted the offer, the gipsy was 
well-informed and worthy of confidence, the station-house officer was 
apprized of many house-breakings before they took place ; if he always 
arrived too late to catch the robbers, that was not the gipsy's fault ; 
no more was he to blame if he could assist the station-house officer to 
discover only a small portion of the booty and that of little value. But in 
time it was observed that, by some strange coincidence, every time the 
gipsy gave information about a proposed house-breaking, a much more 
serious one took place several leagues away. In short, the whole thing 
was discovered to be an imposture. The gipsy, a new Zopyrus, had 
caused the wound to be inflicted on his cheek, so as to be able to assist 
his comrades. He always diverted the attention of the authorities to 
some trifling occurrence, while his confederates thus safely carried out 
most profitable expeditions in other quarters. 

True, on another occasion a member of a band with wide ramifications 
denounced a most serious crime which was to be committed. Some years 
later this informer, a woman, was seen with a great scar on her right 
cheek. We may well suppose that here was cause and effect. 

In all cases Investigating Officers are bound to be extremely careful 
when face to face with persons thus hall-marked. The only rule is, 
each case must be treated according to its peculiar circumstances." 



In this chapter the author treats of the slang pecuHar to' u-ermart 
criminals. To us the study of such slang can be of but little practical 
utility. Those whom it interests we refer to the German original of 
this work, 4th Edition, Vol. I., pp. 846 — 400. As regards India and 
other parts of the Empire each district and dialect has its own criminal 
slang and it will be the duty of Investigating Officers to make them- 
selves acquainted with those words peculiar to the districts in which they 
have to work. 

Much ingenuity has been exercised in finding philological explanations- 
of slang words. The difficulty of tracing the fons et origo of slang words 
is extremely great, as there is no law to guide one. Generally, a perver- 
sion and a pun may be looked for. 

" Much slang is due to rhyme, and when the rhyme is a compoum 
word the rhyming part is sometimes dropped and the other part remains^l 
Thus Chivy is slang for face, "Chivy (Chevy) chase" rhymes with "face"-j 
by dropping " chase " chivy remains, and becomes the accepted slan^ 
word. Similarly, Barnes " boots " thus: "daisy-roots" will rhyme wit! 
" boots," and by dropping " roots," the rhyme, daisy remains. By th« 
same process sky is the slang for pocket, the compound word which gav 
birth to it being "sky-rocket" ''Christmas'' the slang for a railway 
guard, as " Ask the Christmas," is, of course, from the rhyme " Christmas 
card " ; and " raspberry " the slang for heart, is from the rhym( 
"raspberry-tart." (Cobham Breiver, ''Phrase and Fable.'') 

Barrdre in his introduction to "Argot c(: Slang" quotes Gharlei^ 
Nodier as follows : " Everybody must feel that there is more ingenuity ii 
argot than in algebra itself, and that this quality is due to the power i^ 
possesses of making language figurative and graphic. With algebra, onb 
calculations can be achieved ; with argot, however ignoble and impure itl| 

source, a nation and society might be renovated Argot is generall] 

formed with ability because it is the outcome of the urgent necessities oj 

a class of men not lacking in brains The jargon of the lower classes 

which is due to the inventive genius of thieves, is redundant with spark* 
ling wit, and gives evidence of wonderfully imaginative powers," and hi 


goes on to point out how slang is but a bastard tongue grafted on the 
mother stem, and though it is no easy matter to coin a word thar shall 
remain and take rank among those of any language, yet the field of 
argot, already so extensive, is ever pushing back its boundaries, the 
additions surging in together with new ideas, novel fashions, but espe- 
cially through the necessities of that class of people whose primary interest 
It is to make themselves unintelligible to their victims, the public, and 
[jheir enemies, the police. "Argot," again quoting Nodier's words, "is 
m artificial, unsettled tongue, without a syntax properly so called, of 
rhich the only object is to disguise under conventional metaphors 
ideas which are intended to be conveyed to adepts. Consequently its 
vocabulary must needs change whenever it has become familiar to 

It may be remarked that to the student of English slang, French and 
other continental Argot is not without considerable interest. A large 
proportion of the vocabulary of argot is of Romance origin and of this 
English slang has absorbed much. Many other languages have also lent 
us slang words. "From the French bouilli" says Dr. Latham, the 
philologist, " we probably get the prison slang term ' bull ' for a ration 
of meat. Chat, thieves' slang for house, is obviously chateau. Steel, the 
familiar name for Coldbath Fields Prison, is an appropriation and 
abbreviation of Bastille ; and he who ' does a tray ' (serves three months' 
imprisonment) therein, borrows his word from our Gallican neighbours. 
So from the Italian we get casa for house, filly (Jiglia) for daughter, 
donah (donna) for woman, and omee (uomo) for man. From the 
German we get durrijnacker, for a female hawker, from do7'f, 'a village," 
^nd nachgehen, 'to run after.' From Scotland we borrow duds, for clothes, 
and from the Hebrew sho/id, for base coin." We cannot do better than 
reproduce with additions the list of books given by Barrere dealing in 
some way or other with slang. We expressly recommend the writings of 
Bev. J. W. Horsley who has had intimate acquaintance with criminals 
as a prison chaplain. For the rest, as we have stated, each Investigating 
Officer must study for himself the slang of the criminals with whom he 
comes in contact. He will find any knowledge thus acquired will be of 
inestimable service in the elucidation of crime. In India the various 
district manuals may be of som.e assistance, many of them give useful 
vocabularies of local dialects, while Mr. Paupa Bao Naidu^'^^^ mentions 
some useful slang words and phrases common among railway thieves — 

Scially Koravars. 



The following list is in addition to that in Appendix I. (606— 629) 
Barrere (Albert). — Argot and Slang, London, Whittaker & Co. 
Ainsivorth {W. Harrison). — Eookwood. — Jack Sheppard. ^i 

Bamfylde-Moore Carew. — The History and Curious Adventures ol 

Breioer (Gohhain). — Phrase and Fable, Cassel, London, 1904. 
Brome {Bichard). — Joviall Crew; or. The Merry Beggars, 1652. 
Chatto and Windus. — The Slang Dictionary, Etymological, Historical^ .] 

and Anecdotal, London, 1885. 
Davies {T. Leivis 0.). — A Supplementary English Glossary. London^ 

Dickens {Charles). — Works. 
Farmer (J. S.) d- Henley {W.E.). — A Dictionary of Slang and Colloquial 

English, 1905, Koutledge & Sons. 
Fielding {Henry). — Amelia — The History of the life of the late Mr. 

Jonathan Wild the Great. 
Greemvood {James). — The Seven Curses of London. — Dick Teraple. 

Odd People. 
Harman {Thomas). — Caveat or Warening for Common Cursetori 

London, 1568. 
Hohson-Johson. — A Glossary of Anglo-Indian Colloquial Words an^ 

Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, London, 1903. 
Horsley (Bev. J. W.) . — Autobiography of a Thief, Macmillan's Magi 

zine, 1879.— Jottings from Jail, 1887. 
Kingsley {Charles). — Westward Ho! — Two years ago. 
Lytton {Henry Buhver). — Paul Clifford. — Ernest Maltravers. 
Paupa Bao Naidu. — The History of Eailway Thieves with Hini 

on Detection, Madras, 1904. 
Pascoe {C. E.). — Every-day life in our Public Schools, London. 
Sims (G. B) . — Kogues and Vagabonds. 


Section i. — General considerations. 

We shall commence with some remarks upon the manner of living of 
wandering tribes, the author having learned by experience that it is 
difficult to have relations with so remarkable a people when not sufficiently 
known, and that the elucidation of a case in which they are involved is 
very much facilitated by some amount of familiarity with them. The 
gipsy differs in every respect from the civilised man, however coarse and 
degraded the latter may be ; and all that one has learnt and brought into 
practice in dealing with other types is of absolutely no utility when one's 
business is with the gipsy. Northern Europe is not so exposed to this 
terrible scourge as to induce its Investigating Officers to pay much 
attention to it ; a few hints as occasion arises seem to them quite enough. 
But in South and South-East Europe, and especially in Austria- 
Hungary, a case is rarely met with in which gipsies do not play some 
role, and here Investigating Officers may perhaps find a few things of 
which they are ignorant. 

The difference which separates the gipsy so entirely from other 
criminals is as great as the resemblance which gipsies have to one 
another. Gipsies have remained unchanged since they have lived in 
civilised countries and on reading the oldest documents, government 
orders, and reports of cases in which they have been concerned, we 
cannot help thinking that we must be dealing with the gipsies of our 
own time^^^l In the course of centuries gipsies have spread throughout 
all countries ; they have remained, until the present day and wherever they 
are to be found, similar as regards height, build, appearance, language, 
- manners, and way of living. Dr. A. F. Pott^^^^ and Dr. MiUosich^^^"^ 
(the latter is one of those professors who have the closest acquaintance 
with their language), in speaking of Romany or gipsy language, say 
as follows: — ''the gipsy dialects of all the numerous countries from which 
we have collected information, in spite of the infinitely varied and power- 
ful influence exercised upon them by foreign idioms, are united and 
homogeneous and form really but one language "; thereupon Miklosich 





reduces all the gipsy dialects of all countries to a single neo-Indian 
dialect, forming with the Cafir language and the Dardu dialects a single 
linguistic group^^^\ De Gerandu says — "between the gipsy of the French 
departments neighbouring on the Pyrenees and the gipsy of Hungary it 
is impossible to establish any difference." Schwicher^^^^ says — "almost 
the same habits, the same virtues, and the same vices, are found among 
the gipsies of all countries " ; and Liebich, a well-known criminal lawyer,, 
remarks: — "one real and authentic gipsy is a type of all the rest." On 
reading descriptions of the gipsies of countries other than our own we can- 
not help thinking that it is our own gipsies who are being described. ^^°^ 

These ideas regarding a resemblance as remarkable as it is difficult ta 
explain, ideas which are shared by all those who have any knowledge of 
gipsies, are apparently contradicted only by the fact that one observer is 
delighted with the beauty of the figures and faces of gipsies, while 
another finds them much less beautiful, or that, e.g., two gipsies, the one 
a French gipsy and the other an Indian one, hardly understand oni 
another. But the reason is simply this, that on the one hand the Frenc 
gipsy has mixed with his language as many French words as on the othe: 
hand the Indian gipsy has mingled Indian words with his, and Ion 
sojourn in the same country leads the former to speak in the manner an 
with the accent of the French, and the latter in the manner and with th 
accent of the Indian. If the Indian gipsy were able to write somethin 
in his language and if the French gipsy were able to read it, the latter 
would be sure to understand what his Indian brother had written, and 
the small number of foreign words would not trouble him very much ; 
and even when gipsies would, owing to modifications in pronunciation, 
not be able to understand one another, it would be found that they 
nevertheless speak the same language, a language which is the daughter 
of the root language of India, and the European gipsy would none the 
less be found to be nephew of the Indian. They call themselves Sinte 
because they assert that they come from Sind, i.e., Ind (Hindustan). 
Speaking of Eomany (the Gipsy language) a learned Slavonian said that 
he found it interesting to be able to study a Hindu dialect in the heart 
of Europe. {Leland ''English Gipsies'' Chapte?- VIII, p. 109). This 
language contains about 5,000 words the chief of which are corrup 

" All over India numerous wandering tribes are to be found like t 
Bediyas of Bengal ; the Nats, Sansiyas, and Kanjars of the United Pr 
vinces ; the Mang, Mahar, or Dhed of the Deccan. These tribes practise 


the usual gipsy industries — mat and basket-making, knife-grinding, and 
the like. The facility of their occupation makes it an easy cloak for 
more nefarious practices, as is the case with the European gipsy. Some, 
like the Gulgulias of Bengal, live by begging and pilfering, and exhibiting 
trained goats and monkeys. The woman sell drugs to cure ear and 
tooth-ache, and for less reputable purposes. The Panjab, again, has 
a tribe of wandering blacksmiths, whose home is their cart, in which 
they carry about the tools and materials of their craft. There are, 
again, wandering bodies of tumblers, rope-dancers, acrobats, jugglers, and 
snake-charmers. Many of these groups are perhaps not ethnologically 
connected, but their way of life closely resembles that of their brethern in 

'' These people speak a variety of thieves' slang, based on one or other 
of the dialects of Prakrit — a later tongue allied to Sanskrit. Lahnda, 
' the west language,' spoken in the Panjab along the Indus valley — 
roughly speaking from about the latitude of Delhi to the Kashmir border, 
the ancient country of Kaikeya — has been identified by Dr. Grierson with 
the tongue of an Aryan race, the Kaikeya Pisachas, of whom he thinks 
the modern gipsies are the descendants. The so-called gipsy dialects of 
India, of which no less than thirteen are spoken in the province of Berar, 
have not yet been thoroughly investigated by Dr. Grierson in the course 
of the Linguistic Survey. Many of them are mere thieves' argot, as 
when a London thief transforms "police" into " icelop " and finally 
^'slop," the Indian Dom calls a Jamadar, or Police Sergeant, Majadar, 
*' the sweet one." 

" A large part of the crime of the country is due to these people. Their 
methods of crime vary in different provinces. In the United Provinces 
much of the dacoity and gang-robbery is their work. Some years ago 
the Coercion Act was applied to the most notorious tribe, the Sansiyas. 
The most criminal were interned in a reformatory, while the younger 
members were dispersed on the estates of native land-owners, and efforts 
were made to train them to agriculture and other industries. But the 
experiment failed, because they were indisposed to follow any respectable 
occupation, and constantly deserted their settlements." {Croohe "Things 
Indian," pp. 248, 249.) 

Mr. A. T. Crawford, "Reminiscences of an Indian Police Official," 
Chapter XVII., says of them. "They are exceedingly inteUigent and 
observant, .very active in their habits, the lads being as carefully trained 
in running and athletic exercises as they are trained in the skilful use of 



their fingers. Thej' are good actors, and able to assume almost any 
disguise ; very plausible and insinuating in their address, scrupulously 
clean in their persons and habits, and somewhat addicted to finery 
withal. They rarely drink ; their womenkind, all expert thieves them- 
selves, have or had a reputation for virtue. They are very staunch to 
each other, and no police ofiicer ever succeeded in getting any reliable 
information out of a Bamptia." 

WlislocM^^*^^, who has lived among the gipsies and knows them per- 
fectly has charactei'ised them the best: — "Their moral qualities," he says^ 
"are a strange mixture of vanity and vulgarity, of coquetry, seriousness^ 
and light-headedness, and an almost complete want of manly judgment and 
intelligence accompanied by a perfidious ingenuity and cunning, which 
are the usual complements of a general ignorance ; in addition, they have 
also in their ways and habits an outrageous sycophancy tending to the 
spoliation of others ; they have not the slightest regard for the truth and 
sustain the ^;^r and the contra with an effrontery at which they cannot 
blush — shame being to them entirely unknown. The pain of blows 
alone can make them pause and in their sentiments they are even more 
sensual than they are cruel and vindictive." 

To this excellent picture we may perhaps add that Wlislocki was 
acquainted with the " Kortorar ", a wandering Transylvanian tribe, the 
members of which, if all the descriptions of it are to be believed, are 
considerably superior to the general run of gipsy. When dealing there- 
fore with gipsies with whom we have business, any praise which may be 
found hidden away in the passage we have just recited must be greatly 
diminished ; and, while not forgetting the incorrigible laziness, thirst for 
vengeance, and extreme cruelty common to the ordinary gipsy, we must 
also mention a trait of character which he possesses in a very high degree, 
namely, an incredible cowardice which passes all limitation. Indeed this 
fundamental trait of the gipsy is the most important from the point of 
view of the criminal expert, since not only to judge of the character of 
a gipsy, his acts, intentions, motives, and his aim in view, but also to 
know whether a particular act has been committed by gipsies or not, the 
fact must be continually borne in mind that a gipsy and cowardice arc 

In answer to this we are often reminded of how in 1557 the gipsies^ 
defended, on behalf of Francois Perenyi against General Puchheim, tl 
castle of Nagy-Ida (near Kaschau) and there showed proof of bravery 
In the first place this is almost the only case that we know of in histoi 


of gipsy courage, and, moreover, on this occasion they were sheltered 
behind walls and intrenchments, and finally, they only defended them- 
selves with the courage of despair in order to save their own lives — 
which indeed they ended by losing. Nor can any conclusion be drawn 
from the fact that gipsies sometimes make good soldiers. Another case 
has recently cropped up in which some gipsies showed fight on being 
evicted from some waste land on which they had squatted. But these 
gipsies, who were known as the Black Patch gipsies, soon gave in, and 
it appears that only one or two of them, and these women, did anything 
more than throw a stone. 

" It is only after having been a soldier for a long time and become a 
practised pillager," says Captain Sulzer^^^^ of the Austrian army, a man 
who had a thorough knowledge of gipsies, "that the gipsy exposes his breast 
to the bullets of the enemy with the ordinary courage of the soldier, nor 
does he seize a wayfarer's purse without first, from the ambush of a 
thicket, killing him or rendering him incapable of resistance. On more 
than one occasion I have had experience of this in Transylvania, Walachia, 
and Moldavia ; I have seen one determined man, a stick in hand, put to 
flight half a village of gipsies, and in Transylvania there is a proverb to 
the effect that with a wet rag fifty gipsies may be put to flight." 

But there is no need to travel in Walachia to become convinced of 
this. Hardly a day passes in which we have not occasion to see how a 
single policeman or even a game-keeper, armed merely with a sword, can 
make short work of a whole band of gipsies. At one period of the 
author's professional career he had dealings with gipsies extending over a 
considerable space of time. One day a single policeman brought in a 
band of more than thirty gipsies, about twenty being men, whom he 
had arrested on suspicion of theft. They had only one van with them 
and the policeman had seized the horse by the bridle. None of them had 
tried to escape. Their jailor related to the author that he had asked 
them why they had allowed themselves to be arrested by a solitary 
policeman. " Sir " the eldest of them had replied, " the poHceman 
- had a rifle and in that rifle were seven cartridges." To the remark 
that the policeman could not have killed them all, the jailor received 
the following characteristic reply : — " Oh no, certainly not all, but at 
least seven, and none of us was desirous of being one of the seven." 
"A gipsy," says Smith, "a big cowardly hulking fellow, and an Eng- 
Hshrnan, had long had a grudge against one another. The Englishman 
could not get the cowardly gipsy to fight it out. At last the Englishman 




offered the gipsy half a crown and a gallon of beer to let him have one 
round with him. The gipsy consented to this condition. The money was 
paid and the beer drunk, after which the gipsy wanted to back out of the 
bargain. Before the big gipsy would at the last minute undertake to 
fight the little Englishman, the gipsy stipulated that there was to be 
*no hitting upon the noses.' The Englishman did not like this shuffling, 
but he agreed to it, and they stripped for the encounter. For a few 
minutes they sparred about until the gipsy saw his opportunity to hit 
the Englishman full tilt upon his nose, which he did with a tremendous 
force sufficient to break it. When the gipsy was asked why he did it, he 
said, 'I could not help it, my hand slipped'." J 

Equally characteristic is the fact that all murders committed by 
gipsies of which the author has heard tell have been committed only 
upon persons asleep, or attacked from behind and from an absolutely safe 
ambush, or killed with the aid of poison. It is certain that a gipsy has 
never been known to commit a crime where there has been any danger 
to be faced. 

The truth of this is not impeached by the fact that gipsies often 
make excellent spies.. It is particularly interesting to note how a gipsy 
does not mind being employed in this trade, for the skill he can make 
use of when engaged in his own work of thieving is thereby proved. 
Schwicher relates how in 16'25 Wallenstein was able to congratulate him- 
self on the employment of gipsies as spies. Jean Zapolya, the Hungarian 
usurper, employed them against Ferdinand of Austria, and the Imperial : 
General Count Basta would have been unable without the assistance of j 
a gipsy to have introduced a letter into Bistritz when that town was \ 
beseiged in 1602. In Upper Hungary seven gipsies and a French ;> 
Engineer named Pierre Durois (who had lived among them for seven 
years) were made use of in 1676, and with their assistance the King of 
France was enabled to obtained plans of the principal strategic positions 
of Germany and Austria. Grellmann ^^^^ remarks, and with reason, that 
the gipsy lends himself perfectly to spying because he is so easily at- 
tracted by a money prize and because he is always in needy circumstan- 
ces, and also because his peculiar ideas of ambition and pride lead him to 
think that he becomes in this way quite an important personage. It 
must be remembered that the gipsy has wandered for centuries, and 
often in difficult circumstances, over countries entirely unknown to him, 
and has thus acquired a strongly developed bump of locality. He must 
know what it is to have to seek out a locality with which he is acquainted 



only by hearsay and where, e.g., the band is going to commit some theft ; 
that is, he must know how to find the shortest and safest way, how to spUt 
up the band and bring it together again, to follow with the plunder a 
different but as safe a road on the return, to find his band suddenly scat- 
tered and yet able to pick one another up again in a pre-determined spot, 
all without map or compass, without knowing how to read, and without 
being able to question the inhabitants. And this is what a band of 
gipsies has to do every day. 

In the campaign of 1878, immediately after the taking of Sarajevo, it 
was necessary to establish communication between the eastern wing and 
the main body of the Austrian army. One night about 2 o'clock two 
hussars rode up to the outposts with despatches for the Commander-in- 
Chief. They had only been pointed out the direction which they had to 
follow and been ordered to find the Austrian outposts who would send 
them to General Philippovic. The two hussars, — a corporal and a pri- 
vate — left on horseback about nightfall, had to cross a most difficult 
portion of country, occupied on all sides by the Turks, had on two occasions 
to take to the water and swim, and yet arrived safe and sound in a very 
short space of time. The author asked the corporal how he had been able 
to find his way in a country absolutely unknown to him, and he made the 
characteristic reply : — "I didn't know, but my comrade there, is a gipsy." 
Thereupon the author looked at the other hussar and noticed by the feeble 
light of the camp fire the rufhan-like face of the veritable gipsy, who at 
that moment was ten times more interested in a half-smoked cigarette 
than in the whole country-side. It was learnt later that this gipsy and 
his corporal successfully effected their return. If you would know how 
the gipsy finds his way about you have but to ask his brother the 
bird of passage" how he finds his way to a far distant country and 
returns. • 

This faculty, which we can hardly realise, must never be lost sight 
off when we wish to know whether a particular act has or has not been 
committed by gipsies ; we must remember that they find their way 
about everywhere, that they never make a mistake in direction, that they 
see everything, and take part in anything. It may be said without too 
much exaggeration that all is possible to the gipsy and, if it is asked 
what this word "all" means, we may say that it embraces cunning in 
the highest degree, skill, effrontery, astuteness, and greed. • . 

;^ The gipsy must be considered to be the product of his natural 
Character and the life which he has led for centuries : his food, dwelling. 


wani)p:ring tribes 

combat with the elements, the fact of his having been persecuted like a 
beast of prey, added to the natural intelligence peculiar to man, when com- 
pounded together must produce a being in a sense powerless but to whom 
•in another sense nothing is impossible. It must be remembered that, 
since his appearance in Europe, the gipsy has always been governed in all 
his pre-occupations and anxieties by the same narrow and limited circle 
of thoughts : he desires to go freely and without being interfered with 
wherever it is his pleasure to go ; he does not desire to rule anyone and 
he does not desire that anyone should rule him ; it is his greatest happi- 
ness to be able to abandon himself to his laziness and he consequently 
seeks to obtain from him who works all that is necessary to satisfy his 
small number of wants. Honour, country, family, government, nation- 
ality, the past and future of his race — ideas which have led every civilised 
people to the highest rungs of destiny and to the finest actions, are 
things absolutely unknown to the gipsy ; on the other hand we find that 
he possesses an idleness which passes all bounds, an animal hunger, a 
sensual love, and a trace of vanity. He has no other resources and th( 
combination of these factors has naturally no other result than to induce'] 
him to obtain by illegal means the goods of others. 

If we remember that civilised man has for thousands of years stub-j 
bornly consecrated his efforts to the attainment of divers aims and ends] 
of which each man claims for himself an exclusive application, while the 
gipsies have from time immemorial consecrated their knowledge and 
their forces to trying to live at the expense of others, we will not bej 
astonished to find that the latter can do many things which would seem] 
impossible to other men; and the fact that they are endowed with] 
almost an equal number of attributes as the civilised man is thus 

Section 11. — Their methods of stealing. 

The most important thing for us as regards thefts by gipsies, is the' 
extreme skill which they employ. This importance arises especially fro 
the fact that when a theft is committed people who form part of th 
household, and particularly domestic servants, are often accused, and accu- 
sed wrongly, of being the authors, simply because it is supposed '' that it 
is impossible " that an outsider could have had " sufficient knowledge o 
the habits of the household " to be able to commit the theft in question, 
and that the skill and effrontery necessary to get into, the house were of 
a kind "that could not be reasonably attributed to anyone." But in 



most of these cases gipsies have had " this skill, effrontery, and gift of 
observation " which could be attributed to no one. What the servant 
who has lived for many years in the house, and what the neighbour who 
has lived for a long time near by, have not noticed, the old gipsy woman 
who has come begging or fortune-telling has observed in a very few 
minutes, and with the aid of these revelations such combinations have 
been made as have enabled the most brazen-faced theft to be carried out. 
The place where a ''mouse cannot have passed" has been passed through 
by a little gipsy boy as easily as if the door had been opened wide, and 
where an acrobat could not have gone in spite of all his skill the gipsy 
can conquer with his hook — that instrument that he never fails to carry. 
The locksm